There is no doubt that divorce can cause emotional stress and anxiety. It can also cause financial worry and hardship during and after the divorce process. Typically, one spouse ends up in a better financial position post-divorce while the other spouse’s financial position declines. If you are the spouse who is looking at a decrease in your financial resources as a result of divorce, preparing and planning for that change is the key to weathering it successfully. Toward that end, a Murfreesboro divorce attorney at Bennett, Michael & Hornsby offers some tips on managing finances during and after a divorce.
Managing Finances During Your Divorce
While your divorce is pending there are some steps you can take to help ease the financial strain you are likely experiencing, including:
- Separate Accounts. Divorce involves a division of all marital debts and assets. Because it will occur eventually, it is best to begin the separation of finances early on. Not only will this make the divorce process proceed in a more efficient manner but knowing what you have to work with provides you with a higher degree of certainty where your finances are concerned.
- Avoid Expensive Litigation. While it is not always possible, avoiding contentious and adversarial litigation will save both parties time and money in the long run. One way to do this is to consider mediation instead of litigation if there are issues you cannot resolve through negotiations between the parties.
- Budget Conservatively. Given that there are no guarantees with regard to the division of assets and debts in a divorce much less the final costs associated with the divorce itself, budgeting conservatively during the process only makes sense.
Post-Divorce Financial Management
Eventually your divorce will be finalized. Knowing that, you should take steps where your finances are concerned to plan for that eventually.
- Downsize your living situation. If you were a two-income family during your marriage you probably purchased or rented a home that reflected that combined income. If your disposable monthly income will decrease post-divorce, now is the time to consider downsizing to a smaller home or apartment.
- Set financial goals. It is important to set both short-term and long-term financial goals after going through a divorce. This is especially relevant if you did not work outside the home and/or you were not the spouse who managed the family finances during the marriage. Setting realistic goals and then achieving those goals will help you feel more in control of your life post-divorce.
- Reduce your monthly expenses. Take the time to evaluate what you spend each month and what can be eliminated from those expenses. You will likely find that things you considered necessary during your marriage may not be as necessary when working with a reduced budget. You can also do things such as change your thermostat setting, watch your water consumption, and eliminate expensive cable programming to reduce your monthly utility bills.
- Evaluate your education and/or career options. The time period right after a divorce can be a time of educational and/or career growth. If you always wanted to go back to school, look into doing so now. With your reduced income you may qualify for financial assistance and the additional education will lead to an increase in your earning potential in the future. If you did not work outside the home during your marriage, now is the time to explore your career options.
- Set a budget and stick to it. Creating a budget is always a wise idea; however, it is rarely ever more important than right after a divorce. Given the change in your financial position and available resources, it is crucial that you establish a budget and stick to it each month to make the adjustment easier.
Contact a Murfreesboro Divorce Attorney
If you are considering divorce, consult with an experienced Murfreesboro divorce attorney at Bennett, Michael & Hornsby as soon as possible to discuss your legal options. Contact the team today by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your free appointment.