"If you are about to go into foreclosure, talk to your mortgage company as soon as you foresee an issue with them. Most companies have a loss mitigation department and they may be able to put the amount you are in arrears behind the mortgage and come up with a payment that you can pay at the time," says Althea DeBarr-Johnson, an Atlanta-based attorney who focuses on wealth preservation for her clients.
Like other damaging information on your credit report, a foreclosure will show up for seven years, but its impact will lessen with time.
As with a bankruptcy, you can take steps to clean up your credit (see above).
First, though, anyone going through a foreclosure or similar event should address the emotional side of their situation.
"People who are in the midst of these things can only see the problem and they can't see a solution. Because they're just so invested in those feelings of failure, disappointment, shock, the first thing I would say is acknowledge that you are where you are," says Michael Kay, Certified Financial Planner and president of Financial Focus in Livingston, N.J.
Todd R. Tresidder, founder of FinancialMentor.com, agrees.
"Get into offensive mode; stop wallowing in your misery. Yes, it's a bad situation. Let it go and commit to moving forward from where you are and accept the setback," he says.
Be honest with yourself about setting goals and work on implementing the changes in your life that you need to achieve them.
"Work with qualified advisers, Certified Financial Planners, CPAs or attorneys who are skilled and experienced in these areas," says Kay.
Surviving divorceDivorce can throw a big monkey wrench into your finances, not only as a result of legal costs, but also because now two families instead of one live off the same amount of income that they lived on as an intact family.
To avoid some of the costs, try to keep it civil. "Avoid unnecessary litigation, unnecessarily engaging lawyers. Come to resolution amongst yourselves as much as possible," says Lisa Rosenberg Moore, a family law attorney in Cherry Hill, N.J.
Anyone going through a divorce should speak with a therapist -- your lawyer is not an acceptable substitute.
"You're being billed at an hourly rate, and every hour you sit on the phone with your lawyer starts to add up," Rosenberg says.
She recommends that divorcing couples accept their situations as quickly as possible and reconcile themselves to the fact that no matter what, they're not going to have the same lifestyle as before.
Deal with the emotional dissolution of your marriage before tackling the financial. Dismantling the legal entanglement with your former partner should be about your money and your children -- not about hurt feelings.
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