In the midst of emotions, a mountain of change, and a seemingly endless amount of divorce paperwork, finances may be the last thing you want to discuss. This is a difficult subject to navigate for every couple, and regardless of how financially stable or unstable your shared finances were, money influences nearly every aspect of the divorce process and should be approached with conscious consideration and open communication.
Equally as important as custody decisions, living arrangements, and other essential divorce topics, developing a financial plan of action should be at the top of your priority list. While making the transition to independently managed finances isn’t a simple task, with a clear understanding of your current finances, careful planning, and a willingness to compromise, maintaining a sustainable financial situation post-divorce is highly achievable. So, what are the steps you should take to create a solid post-divorce financial plan?
Organize a Budget With Income & Expenses
Organizing your financial information into a single document will help you plan for your current and future financial needs with greater clarity. On your itemized financial checklist, be sure to account for every current expense, all sources of income (including potential child support or alimony payments), and other potential financial adjustments that may arise following the separation. For example, if you are on a shared health insurance plan through your spouse’s employer, you may need to budget ahead for a private health insurance plan before the divorce is finalized.
Adjust Beneficiaries & Joint Accounts
Once you have organized your income and expenses with your new life apart, it’s time to review and adjust any shared financial documents. If you have joint savings accounts, shared memberships, or your spouse is listed as a beneficiary, you may need to get in touch with your bank, insurance company, or any other business that manages your shared accounts to make the appropriate adjustments as soon as possible.
Communicate & Reach a Compromise
If you weren’t responsible for managing your finances during the marriage, you may need to discuss certain details with your spouse to learn how to manage bills and other expenses independently. For example, if you are going to retain the primary home, but your spouse handled the utility bills, you need to know how these essential obligations were managed.
Along with independently managing the essential bills, if children are involved, you may have to make additional financial adjustments and discuss shared financial obligations like child care, transportation to school, and other expenses like college tuition that may require a pivot in savings or your monthly spending habits.
These financial topics can be a sensitive subject, and to prepare for financial success post-divorce, you may benefit from the guidance of a neutral third-party perspective. Our divorce mediation services provide an open atmosphere to organize and manage financial considerations in a factual and unbiased manner, and we advocate for the wellbeing of everyone involved without judging or taking sides.