Divorce is a financially difficult time.
Dividing expenses and resources into two households can take some major restructuring and difficult decisions. And even within the ideally amicable confines of a DIYvorce, the process can take an emotional toll on you and your family. However, there are some steps you can take to start dividing the family finances that will help ease the stress and facilitate your transition.
First, take stock of your monthly bills, both as they are now and what you can reasonably expect to have after you and your spouse have separated.
Even if you have not been involved in the family bills and finances during the marriage, you can still get an idea of what expenses to expect by looking at mortgage statements, credit card bills, utility bills, or any other regular bills. If you have opted for paperless billing, check the last few months of your bank statement for this information. If you have children, you might have significant additional costs that you did not have before the divorce, such as child support or daycare.
Next, review what your income will be after the divorce. This includes not just money from your employment, but also child support, if applicable. Any money you will use to pay the costs of daily living should be included.
With these factors in mind, you can start building a practical and realistic monthly budget for after separation and divorce. Without a monthly budget, it is impossible to adequately estimate which expenses you can reasonably shoulder.
Some other questions to consider as you divide your family finances:
- Has one person been historically responsible for all of the bills or have the spouses shared this responsibility?
- Does one person make significantly more income?
- Are both spouses able to provide for their daily needs without financial help from the other person?
These questions will help you understand what has been the status quo in your relationship and can provide a starting point for deciding on a fair division of financial responsibility.
If you need any help working through financial issues in your DIYvorce, we are here to help. Contact your DIYvorce support team.
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