3 Post-Divorce Budgeting Tips
General Budgeting Information
As important as budgeting is for everyday life, it becomes even more crucial after a divorce. After you’re finished with all matters of capital assets, bank accounts, and child custody – which are understandably grueling in their own right – you have a whole life’s budget to plan on your own. This hits especially hard when you’re used to living with a partner and sharing financial responsibilities while benefiting from a more combined income.
In this guide, the top NJ divorce attorneys at Sanvenero & Cittadino provide 3 invaluable tips that will make your life remarkably easier after a divorce, in terms of budgeting and finances in general.
Budgeting Tips for After Divorce
Budgeting Tip #1: Perform a methodological assessment of current finances
The first step in creating a budget is to examine current expenses and current income to develop a financial baseline. During this initial step, it's important review things like credit card statements, bank statements, and any additional expenditures for the past year or two. After reviewing these items, take inventory and record them on a spreadsheet or other document that is easily accessible.
After compiling this information, divide it into two columns: one for income and another for expenses. This will provide some insight into current monthly expenses and income prior to finalizing the divorce.
Next, analyze these figures by category to determine how much additional money or income will be required each month to cover living costs after divorce. These costs include things like housing, groceries, utilities, transportation, and more. After compiling all of this information, add up the figures for each category - for example, monthly grocery expenses - and compare them to historical figures. These historical figures are the monetary amounts spent in recent, previous years (for example, last year's living expenses, etc.).
Knowing how to develop and follow an accurate budget and financial plan after the divorce process concludes is extremely important — especially because changes to spending habits and living cost reductions may be necessary post-divorce for general living circumstances, or to remain on track for retirement, purchasing a home, or other life events.
Budgeting Tip #2: Get Into the Habit of Planning a Budget & Tracking Expenses
Just as it is very important to analyze finances and develop a baseline prior to following through with a divorce, it is equally as important to create - and stick to - a post-divorce budget.
The best way to get into this habit is to create a separate spreadsheet or utilize a budgeting app on your phone or computer. It may even make things easier to continue utilizing an app that was previously shared with a separating spouse due to familiarity and ease of use.
Additionally, a good NJ divorce attorney can help better navigate these unfamiliar and somewhat intimidating waters. Experienced family law and divorce attorneys are a great resource to lean on at times when an objective, unbiased perspective of current options, financial plans, and future budgets is needed to proceed.
Most attorneys will recommend setting aside money for the future and configuring automatic debits for 401(k) payments or other retirement investment vehicles. In addition, any prudent attorney will recommend taking any left-over funds after the month's expenses have been paid and placing them into an emergency fund or savings account. From there, other activities like paying down credit cards or other debt will round out a solid post-divorce budget or financial plan.
Budgeting Tip #3: Look into spousal support payments for monetary assistance
Various kinds of spousal support programs exist that can be very helpful if post-divorce budget planning ends up looking a bit bleak otherwise. These payment programs are designed specifically to help divorce proceedings where one separating spouse may end up in a significantly more favorable financial situation than the other.
Types of Spousal Support Payment Arrangements
If one of the divorcing parties is unable to work due to a health condition, or in the case of divorce after a long-term marriage (20+ years), where young children are involved, the court can award what is called open durational spousal support. Another type of similar support is limited duration support, which applies to shorter marriages when one spouse contributed to the stability of the other - financially or otherwise.
There are also reimbursement spousal payments that are meant to reimburse a spouse for some form of investment or contribution he or she made towards the future of the collective household or family. This typically covers situations when one spouse covers any form of training or education for the other spouse.
To keep the status quo while the divorce proceedings are ongoing, the court may award pendente lite payments which essentially maintains quality of life for an adversely affected party.
If one separating spouse is in the process of or about to begin some form of training or higher education, he or she may be eligible for rehabilitative support that aims to help facilitate self-independence after divorce.
Contacting a competent and experienced divorce attorney in New Jersey will ensure that you get the compensation you deserve without having to sacrifice or compromise in any situation. Having a good, accurate budget can dramatically impact these payments or support as well. Budgeting and planning, in conjunction with an experienced attorney, are very important to gain rightfully deserved compensation and support in an otherwise unequal situation.
Whether you are preparing for a divorce or already moving forward with divorce proceedings, you will need to start budgeting in a new way. You may have spent the past several years or months of marriage budgeting a certain way, but a divorce can lead to a lot of financial uncertainty.
The good news is that there's no need to panic. You can still manage your money and feel secure about your future, even if your separating spouse isn’t being agreeable on the financial aspects. Regardless of your specific set of divorce circumstances, it's important to begin budgeting differently as quickly as possible to get back on track with finances, bills, and more.
If you’re anticipating getting divorced in the near future, or if you have commenced the divorce proceedings without representation, then reaching out to New Jersey’s top divorce attorney team at The SC Law Office can help you achieve the most favorable outcome. Our family legal team has several years of combined experience with divorce cases of varied complexity and size. Don’t end up settling for significantly less favorable circumstances than those that you deserve; contact our NJ divorce lawyers today and learn more about our experience and your options.