"When you go through this you need to set up your own accounts," says Rodgers of Dallas. "Cancel anything in your spouse's name that's a credit card."
DeGroat, who met Rodgers through D.I.V.A.S., says that the first thing he does with clients is review their beneficiary designations on everything from their bank accounts to life insurance to retirement funds, because in most cases the former spouse is the one listed.
"If they pass away and they haven't changed their beneficiary designations, that money goes to their previous spouse," he says. "I don't know anybody that's been divorced that wants that to happen."
Rodgers also recommends seeing an estate planner to amend your will, and DeGroat says you should look into new insurance quotes for things such as your house and car.
Also keep in mind how your tax situation will change, Ostovitz says. If a couple have children, they have to decide who can claim them as dependents. If you're paying alimony, it's tax deductible, whereas the person receiving it must report it as income, she says.
Ostovitz also says individuals need to be aware that their standard of living may need to change.
"Two people cannot live separately in the same manner as they lived when they were together," she says.
Know what you're facing
When she got divorced five years ago after 32 years of marriage, Rosalie Delgado says her lifestyle changed "dramatically." At the time her husband had been making about $350,000 a year while she worked part time as a dental hygienist.
"We had money to go on trips and had more money than a lot of people, and I was not going to have that anymore," says Delgado, a former client of Ostovitz's. "I was just worried about how I was going to pay bills and how I was going to survive."
Delgado had to re-evaluate lifestyle choices such as what cellphone plan she'd get.
"To have a cellphone, that was something I always had," she says. "Now I had to face: â??Well, I'm going to pay that, so what plan should I have?' Just things you don't think about."
Now 60, she also has her impending retirement to consider. While she received half of her ex-husband's 401(k) savings, she says she doesn't make enough at her job to continue contributing to it, though she did start working more after the divorce. "My money now just goes to living," Delgado says.
She says that if you're thinking of getting a divorce, make sure you'll be able to get work and support yourself on your own. Ostovitz agrees.
"People who had the luxury of not working or working part time are probably going to have to go back into the workforce," Ostovitz says.
Delgado's biggest piece of advice, though, is to know ahead of time what you'll face alone. "You have to know what's ahead of you by yourself," says Delgado, who saw a financial adviser before she and her husband separated. "I thought I was prepared, but you're never prepared enough to face financially what you'll go through."