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Episode-185: Are you dying of Financial Abuse in your Marriage? with Stacey Francis, CFP, CDFA, CES of Francis Financial

Are you dying of Financial Abuse in your Marriage? with Stacey Francis, CFP, CDFA, CES of Francis Financial

Women feel financially trapped in their marriage. Stacy’s mission is to provide women with an option to leave their marriage and be financially secure. Specifically, to provide to women financial wisdom and financial security through education.

Stacy tells a story of her grandmother actually dying of financial abuse. Her grandmother died of physical abuse by her husband because she stayed in the marriage feeling financially trapped with no way out because of a lack of understanding of money, without a financial plan, and living in fear about the future, especially their financial future.

How can women without income file for divorce, hire an attorney, and know the financial picture of the marriage?

1. An attorney can be paid in different ways that the woman having the money to file for divorce.

2. Filing Joint tax returns will allow you to access those joint returns from the IRS. This will give you the knowledge necessary to know where you’re going financially in the divorce. And you can see if there is IRS debt.
     a. There is an unusual situation in that people can hide money within their IRS account by purposely overpaying their taxes so that the IRS is holding money for your spouse without you knowing that there is a surplus of money.

3. Get a copy of their credit report. It can be emailed to you directly. Go to www.AnnualCreditReport.com and request your credit report. If your spouse has signed your name to loans that you didn’t know about, but you can get a better picture of what you have and what you owe.   
Income versus spending is a whole education unto itself. A good financial analyst and consultant will help you create a budget, a spending plan, and see what the woman has to do to be solvent. 

Marital Debt is a huge problem if there is more debt that is known to both spouses. And, the spouse who didn’t incur the debt may be the one paying the debt if the debt was created during the marriage!!!! The creditor doesn’t care who pays it; they just want to be paid. One suggestion Stacy gave us is to get your name off of joint credit cards that may help a little is minimizing the community debt. Getting a credit report as soon as possible will give you a heads up on the financial health and welfare of the family. Jump in and get involved.

Financial date night, or a financial advisor will help you, as a woman, understand your financial health and welfare. Being strapped for time cannot be an excuse for not knowing about the family finances.

If you’re experiencing pushback from your spouse when asking to know the financial picture of your financial relationship. “A marriage is an economic union,” Stacy said. 100% transparency has to be available or you may be experiencing financial infidelity.

You could be left holding the bag, and it could be an empty bag if there is more debt than can be managed properly. If, for instance, you have taken your name off of the Visa card and your husband takes responsibility for that debt in the marital settlement agreement, Visa won’t care if your husband defaults on the Visa card. Visa will come after you to pay the debt if the debt was incurred during the marriage.

Financial Infidelity happens more than people think. Financial Infidelity is spending on things and hiding it. Not bringing home your full income is financial infidelity. Financial Infidelity means that you or your spouse are hiding spending from the partner.

In a survey of 150 divorced women, 64% felt that their husbands weren’t being truthful about their finances. That’s a big number, too big a number, for financial openness.

Three Parts to a Divorce as far as finances are concerned:
Preparing Financials
Negotiating the Settlement
Living with the Settlement
Each part of this divorce package is important to understand and to have a financial specialist to review with you. For instance, you may be house rich and cash poor by taking the house instead of cash investments, and then you’re left taking daily living expenses out of investments and savings. 

Having the right divorce team is important, but having a great divorce financial analyst is the best decision you can make because divorce is all about money when dealing with the settlement and life beyond the settlement.

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Stacy Francis Biography  

Driven by her mission to give financial wisdom and freedom to women, Stacy is the founder of the non-profit Savvy Ladies™, host of the Financially Ever After podcast, and author of resource guides for women in transitional stages of life. Her practice, Francis Financial, is a fee-only boutique wealth management, financial planning, and divorce financial planning firm. Her dedication to providing ongoing comprehensive advice for successful individuals, couples, and women in transition such as divorce or widowhood. Stacy has over 20 years of experience in the financial industry and is a nationally recognized financial expert having appeared in hundreds of media outlets, industry awards, and is also an expert contributor for The Wall Street Journal.

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