Personal Budget Planning During Divorce

I’m getting a divorce and now what will I do? This is often the sobering reality for many individuals going through a divorce, especially those who have stayed home to raise a family. While this decision to stay home was made while the marriage was intact, now that the marriage is over, 99% of the time so is the option to not work outside the home. The spouse who stayed home is often faced with the prospect of finding a job, a new place to live and starting a new life.

For example, one of the hardest realities to face can be the sale of the marital residence. This was the house where the couple was going to raise a family and live forever. Often, the parent who stayed home develops a deep emotional attachment to the house and really wants it as part of the division of marital assets. This can be beneficial to the children to keep them in the same school, neighborhood and friends, but if the parent cannot actually afford the house on his or her own, it’s not the best choice going forward. It does not benefit a party or the children to be house rich and money poor just to stay in the house. Unless by agreement, there is no requirement that either parent keep the house.

So what should you do?

When faced with the division of assets and debts at the end of the marriage, the first item of business should be to set up a monthly budget, especially to become clear as to what will be coming in each week in the form of child support, wages and possibly maintenance. If those items will not provide MORE than enough to cover all the household expenses and child-related expenses, then adjustments need to be made. The parent who stayed home may also need to either get back into the workforce and take the training necessary to get back up to speed or be credentialed, or even start school for the first time.

All of this can and should be discussed with a financial planner who can help create a game plan for your unique financial situation. Their invaluable advice will help you avoid asking for items in your marital estate that you may ultimately be unable to afford, and can help start you on the first day of the rest of your life. Contact the attorneys at Wanzer Edwards for a referral to a financial professional today.

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