Divorce is, in many different ways, a hugely significant moment. It can quite literally set the stage for an entirely new chapter in life. Families split, property is divided, houses are moved out of and sold, and finances are divided and often garnished.
The last example there is the theme of the post today: Finances. The common part of finances when it comes to divorce, and the part that everyone else would be quickest to say, would be alimony/spousal support. Without a doubt, that is a major part of life after divorce for many people, but there is a lot more to it than simply that.
We have arranged some tips for how to deal with post-divorce finances. Hopefully you are able to read and apply them before the moment of truth arrives.
Alimony is important. Pay it, and ask for it!
- It is odd that those two are together, and it’s true that you cannot both pay and receive alimony (why would you want to?), but they are both sides of the same coin and should be addressed together. The entire point of alimony is to help the dependent spouse transition into a self-sustaining life of their own. It is crucially important, and never implemented without just cause. When the judge’s gavel falls, the rest of your life begins, so don’t allow yourself to start it penniless and destitute, and don’t force the spouse you once devoted your life and love to to suffer the same fate.
Know your finances, and build a detailed budget!
- This is of the utmost importance. It is crucial, and cannot be overstated. Not only is a budget always a good thing to have, but for many couples, income drops drastically for both parties following a divorce, and the effects can be shocking. Many people fail to really grasp this concept, but housing expenses won’t suddenly cut in half after a divorce, and neither will utilities, insurance bills, or (most likely) food and cell phone bills. As a single person footing the entire bill, your expenses will take up a much larger portion of your income. Be prepared for that, or it will quickly get on top of you.
Keep a tight lid on impulse spending
- As mentioned in the previous tip, you will most likely find that your expendable income is stretched thinner as a newly-single person, and as such, an impulse buy that would have required you to merely tighten the purse strings a bit can quickly become an I-can’t-pay-my-bills-this-month scenario. Bill collectors are notoriously incapable of relating to your struggles and pain, so make sure you first plan out everything carefully, and then spend even more
No major life changes
- Divorce has been likened to death by many, and there is a nugget of truth there. It is not only a massively emotional, scarring event, but it is the dissolution of a once-central part of your life, and it will play a minor role in events for the rest of your life. That is why you should take a period of at least 6 months to simply let yourself adjust. Don’t look into switching careers, or packing everything up and moving to a new state. Allow the toxic emotional reservoir you’ve been filling to slowly empty over time, and give yourself space to re-acclimate to what your life will be from here on out.
There aren’t any rules set in stone when it comes to living your life post-divorce, but hopefully this article has either given you some valuable information, or at the very least given you a small nudge towards figuring things out for yourself.
If you ever have any specific questions, or just need a little advice, you can always talk to a family law attorney. They are immersed in the industry, and will know the ins and outs of not only preparing for the divorce and going through it, but also how to set yourself up for the best possible post-divorce success story.