Keeping Step With Financially Safeguarding Your Children After Divorce
No doubt you hoped your existence would be ahappily ever aftera when you said, aI do.a Let’s be honest, no one pictures sitting across from a husband or wife during divorce proceedings and thinking aI never noticed those nose hairs when he flares his nostrils in anger.a or aWow! She spits when she says her aSa words. Somebody get a towel.a
Once you’ve faced the reality of the end of that particular dream, you will realize that now is the time to look forward: to believe this came along for a good reasonato teach you something, or to guide you on another path, to nudge you out of that safe cocoon and into a wilder, richer adventure. Your whole future is open, if that’s how you choose to look at it. Once again, you are free in so many ways that you weren’t when you were part of a acouple.a Take advantage of it. Have fun. Learn from your past, move on and LIVE.
When you are preparing for your new life, you’ll inevitably ask yourself some hard questions, one of which will be: Will my children and I be able to afford our future? Just as you prepared yourself for divorce by learning to pay attention to finances and ensure the security of you and your children, your goal now that the apapers are signeda should be to continue diligently focusing on your resources and be prepared to research and study what measures to take if something goes wrong.
Right After the Divorce is Final
This is the time to proceed with caution. Maybe your ex took a lot of possessions from the house and you’re tempted to go out and buy new items to replace them. Resist this urge. Take it slow and easy so you don’t get in over your head. This is a sensitive time.
Your finances, even if you’re getting child support and/or alimony, and if you have a good job, are bound to falter for a while. Issues may come up unexpectedlya”new insurance and medical costs, or you may be paying rent or mortgage for the first time. The legal fees from the divorce could be bogging you down and forcing you to tighten your budget considerably.
Keep up those itemized lists of your expenses that you started during the divorce. Here are some ideas of what you should track:
- List where every dime is going, especially cash. Paper money has a tendency to disappear.
- Discover where you can cut costs and where you can spend a little.
- Know what months will be tight and which ones will be easier.
- Budget in advance for things like auto insurance and taxes.
- Use an accountant or a good book on finances for advice on how to set up and maintain a budget.
- This process will take at least a year. Remember that some years will be more expensive than others; for instance, you could some day be faced with your child’s senior year in high school which would involve a class ring, rental of the cap and gown, graduation pictures, the senior breakfast, the senior prom etc. Don’t let events like this blindside you.
- Continue to contribute to your 401K, savings account, or individual retirement plan, even if it’s only for a small amount.
Keep in mind that there will be many things that change:
- You’ll probably buy a different amount of food at the grocery store.
- Where you end up living could account for a huge chunk of your resources. Even a modest apartment could mean a third of your income. If you are a homeowner, not only the mortgage but also the upkeep may stretch your budget.
- You may go to work for the first time or start a new job.
- The money you used to spend on the holidays will likely change (you probably won’t be buying those earrings or new golf clubs for the ex).
- If you have custody of the children, you may be paying for childcare you didn’t have as an expense before the divorce.
- Your income will likely be different.
- You might lose financial support from generous ex in-laws.
- You’ll probably have to hire babysitters more often.
- Not to be stereotypical, but if you’re a woman, you may find yourself hiring someone to do the yard work or you may now take your car to the shop. If you’re a man, you might eat out more, or hire someone to do your laundry and ironing.
If you treat your financial life with care after your divorce, you may end up better off than before, both financially and psychologically. Watch out for the desire to buy unnecessary items in order to feel better. It takes time to adjust to your new financial status after a divorce, and you don’t want to ruin your credit or fall short when the bills come due. Be responsible: take care of important issues like life insurance, medical insurance, car insurance and home or renter’s insurance. Build up your money accounts, even if it’s just a little at a time, so that you have emergency padding.
Make sure your credit is now in your name only, or establish it for the first time if you need to. If your credit has suffered along with your marriage, there’s help available for that with reputable credit repair law firms. Order your credit reports and review them carefully. Be sure to report any mistakes to the credit bureaus. Most of all make certain your ex’s name stays off your credit reports. You can do this by ordering your credit reports every six months.