It can be difficult figuring out how to survive financially after divorce. On top a range of emotions that you are dealing with, financial struggles that you weren’t expecting can be fairly common. You will have to figure out how to get by on a lot less money than you were used to when you were married.
When you were married, you probably pooled both assets and income. Now you will likely find that you are alone and will have to financially support yourself. This can be a very difficult adjustment and can be especially challenging when you have children.
How to survive financially after divorce: start with a budget.
After you go through a divorce, your household income will be lower than when you were married. While that might feel very unsettling, it’s important to avoid getting caught up in your emotions so you can move past your divorce. You have the opportunity to take charge of your own life and financial decisions. You can figure out how to survive financially after divorce – you just need to know how to budget.
If you feel like you can’t make ends meet, don’t try to ignore your problems and hope they will go away. Take control of your finances by using the following tips:
- Make a detailed plan for every place you need to put your money towards. You may need to avoid being frivolous with your money, at least for now. Make sure to consider every single place your money may need to go including holiday gifts for your children and other family. Birthday parties, rent, utility bills, unexpected payments to fix your car, and medical bills can all pile up if you do not prepare for these payments.
- You may need to consider downsizing your home or selling possessions you no longer need.
- Keep your checkbook in balance, and try to limit your reliance on credit cards. If you already have student loans or credit card debt, make a plan for paying it down a little at a time.
- Consider where you’re spending money that you don’t need to be spending right now. You may need to reduce your clothing budget or eat out less.
- Put any left-over money into your savings account. Even if you are just putting what you have in your change jar or child support/alimony, you will be glad to have that money when you ultimately need it. As your children grow, there will be future expenses such as braces or class trips, so it’s good to get in the habit of setting aside money for these expenses.
Receiving or Paying Child Support
Child support can affect the finances of both people who are involved in a divorce. If you’re the person paying child support, you will have to be very careful with your spending habits to make sure you don’t fall behind on the bills you have to pay. Additionally, you need to ensure that your bills don’t interfere with your ability to pay child support and alimony.
If you’re receiving child support, you will likely find that the money you spend on your child is more significant than when you were married. Even though you are receiving child support, you can’t take it for granted. You need to ensure that you spend that money on your child rather than on unnecessary luxuries. If child support doesn’t cover the expenses for your child, you need to create a better budget so that you don’t blow through your child support. This can make it very difficult for you to pay expenses that have popped up out of the blue. You may need to consider finding a way to make a little extra money on the side even if your ex pays child support on time.
Modifying Child Support
As time passes, it is entirely possible that the amount you are receiving for child support isn’t enough. Your ex also might not be paying you on time or at all. Child support payments are established by court order and can be modified if circumstances change because of job loss or unexpected expenses.
While your financial circumstances may seem overwhelming, you will figure out how to survive financially after divorce. With time and persistence, you can learn to live within your means and gain control of your finances and ultimately your own life again.
Richard M. Renkin is a certified family law specialist and has run his divorce & family law firm in Encinitas for over two decades. He serves as an advocate for fathers who are seeking custody for their children. www.renkinlaw.com