Divorce can be expensive, especially if you have property and children, and your spouse does not agree to settle things amicably. Even if you do come to an agreement, you should always retain an attorney to look over the settlement agreement to ensure that your rights are protected within the terms of the settlement agreement.
Many people think they have to stay in a bad marriage because of the financial burden of divorce. This is not always so. If you know ahead of time that divorce is coming, you should start planning for post-divorce living and calculate how you will pay your own bills. You can help alleviate some of these costs if you have children and you have primary custody of the children with child support or alimony.
If you are separated or recently became separated and your spouse is not providing financial help for the children, you may be able to ask the court for child support before the divorce is final. You should also ask your attorney if you qualify for alimony payments. Many things are taken into consideration for alimony and depending on each couple’s circumstances, a spouse may or may not qualify.
Once you are on your own, create a written budget. Compare your monthly expenses against your monthly income to see where you need to cut corners. For example, you may have to give up the extras on the cable television. You may have to stop going out to eat so often.
Even if you get alimony or child support, create the budget without those payments in mind. Put the child support money and alimony away in a separate account. Use it when you have to buy school clothes and supplies for the children. Use it for gifts for the children for holidays and birthdays.
You never know when you might need the money for an emergency. If you put the money away, you will have it when your home needs a major repair or one of the children needs braces. And, most importantly, you will not be relying on it to live day to day if your spouse loses his or her job or just decides to stop paying.
Source: Huffington Post, “Getting A Divorce Saved My Finances,” Catherine New, August 7, 2012.
Our firm handles alimony, child support and other issues regarding divorce.