Determining Your Post-Divorce Expenses
Making a list of expenses and a budget can help to create a more financially secure post-divorce future.
It seems that knowing your lifestyle and determining post-divorce expenses might be one of the easiest things to do during a separation. However, it's quite the opposite; it frequently turns out to be one of the most difficult. Most people simply do not know where all their money goes, or at least they cannot articulate it when asked. If prompted about what some of their needs and expenses might be, they say something like, “Oh, yeah, that’s right.” What I usually see happen is that their attorney will ask them to prepare their "budget." (Now that’s a word that induces negative feelings.) At that point, you might make notes of the obvious items: mortgage/rent, utilities, food, car payment, car insurance, and TV/internet/phone. You know there is something missing, but not sure what, so you don’t submit it. Your attorney asks again and again, and then the paralegal asks four more times. Time is passing and the pressure is on. However, you still can’t be any more specific. The process is similar to someone being barraged with the same question over and over again in a torture situation. It is a question you cannot answer well, but you finally give them something just so they don’t ask again. Big mistake. What you give them will actually be used to determine some of the key financial issues of your divorce. As a divorce financial consultant, what I tell clients is if you will potentially receive spousal support, and you don’t know what you need, you won’t know what to ask for and you surely won’t get it. If you will potentially pay spousal support and you don’t know what you need for yourself, you won’t be able to hang on to it, and it won’t be there when you need it.