While there are so many aspects to a divorce, financial matters tend to cause a significant amount of stress. As you plan for the new chapter of your life following your divorce, you may be worried about the costs you will face as a newly single individual. Without your spouse’s second income, you may be concerned about what your financial reality will look like. Let’s explore a few ways that you can navigate the financial aspects of your divorce to ensure that you walk away from your marriage with the security you need to thrive.
Take a Look at the Big Picture
For many couples, finances can become messy and obscure over the course of a marriage, especially if both partners are co-mingling their assets. Before you can start negotiating how you and your ex will divide your finances, you first need to have an accurate picture of your joint assets. Take the time to make a list of all your bank accounts—both shared and individual—investment accounts, and retirement accounts, including 401(k)s, IRAs, HSAs, and pensions. You’ll also want to make a note of any debts you owe, such as credit card balances, outstanding student loans, and similar payments you still need to make. Once you’ve compiled all of these documents, you and your divorce attorney can discuss a strategy for how to negotiate a fair division of assets.
Create a Workable Budget for the Future
As you begin to lay the foundation for your life post-divorce, you’ll need to have a clear picture of your monthly costs. First of all, where are you planning to live? Do you intend to keep the house, or will you be selling the home and moving elsewhere? If there is still a mortgage on the house, you may want to consider refinancing the home so that the individual who keeps the house also assumes responsibility for the remaining debt. If you are concerned about your financial situation once you’re on your own, it may be a good idea to downsize a bit so that housing costs are more manageable. As you create your budget, be sure to include items such as medical insurance, childcare costs, retirement contributions, tuition payments, utilities, and transportation costs. It’s beneficial to have a budget in mind when you and your lawyer discuss how you plan to negotiate spousal support payments (and child care payments, if applicable).
Avoid Making Major Purchases Right Now
While you are still working out the terms of your divorce, it’s best to put off making any major purchases or expenditures until you find your feet. The divorce process itself can involve several costs, such as court filing and attorney fees, counseling sessions, financial advisor fees, and more, so it’s wise to be conservative in your spending in the present moment. Once your divorce is finalized, and you’ve adjusted to your new financial reality, you can begin to think about upgrading your car or moving into a larger home. However, for now, stay focused on building yourself a strong financial foundation so that you can thrive independently in the future.
To learn more about how to make sound financial decisions as you approach the divorce process, contact Lee Tyler Family Law, P.C. today at (503) 233-8868 to make an appointment with a friendly and experienced Portland divorce and family law attorney.