For both men and women, there’s more than just the pain of separation that needs to be dealt with after a divorce. You also need to start putting your life back together and learn how to live on your own. Part of this is managing your finances. If you’re a mom with three kids who just recently went through a divorce, your not being the major income earner would take its toll on your finances.
How are you going to manage your money now that you’re going to be living alone in a big house with the kids? What about your retirement fund? Should you take on an additional job or switch to a different career which will allow you to make more money? The negative financial impact of the divorce may lie on your ex-husband because he has to pay for child support and alimony – but you still need to take big steps in straightening out your finances if you want your family’s future to be secure, this time without a spouse.
Quick Stats about Divorce
Here, we will focus on the things that you need to do in order to recover financially after a divorce. Before that, let’s take a look at a few quick statistics about divorce in the US:
- From 2013 onwards, 50% of all marriages end in divorce.
- Some of the most common reasons for filing a divorce include poor communication, loss of attraction, financial difficulties, abuse and infidelity.
- Those who married for the second time have a 60% chance of filing for a divorce; while those who are saying their “I dos” for the third time have a 73% chance of filing for a divorce again.
- According to Forbes.com, it costs anywhere from $15,000 to $30,000 to file for a divorce in 2010.
- The emotional and financial effects of a divorce can extend two, four, eight or even more years into the future.
- 90% of divorced moms have custody of their kids, while 65% receive no child support.
- The divorce rate for couples over the age of 50 continues to increase.
- Without proactive financial planning and a good lawyer, the long-term effects of a divorce can take its toll on your finances.
Whether you’re a stressed out dad or a worried mom who has just gone through a troublesome divorce, know that you can manage to put yourself – along with your life and your finances – back together. It might involve a lot of work and teeth-gritting, but you can eventually do it and move on from the separation.
Top 10 Tips for Financially Recovering after a Divorce
After getting over the emotional turbulence of going through the divorce proceedings, you should try to get your head back in the game of putting your finances back together. Take a look at our top tips on how you can recover financially after a divorce:
1. Do not try to straighten out your finances while you’re still recovering.
If your spouse filed for a divorce out of the blue, you might still be reeling from the experience. After the surprise, the meltdown, the heartbreak and all the emotional stuff that you had to go through, now might not be the best time to straighten out your finances. It’s a task that you definitely have to handle at one point or another, but definitely not while your emotions are still in a shambles. Gauge yourself and know if you are ready to face such an objective task. When you’re emotional, all objectivity will comes flying out the window and this might lead you to make disastrous financial decisions. Wait until you are more settled emotionally, then start putting your finances back together.
2. Seek professional help if you must.
If you know that it will take you a very long time to emotionally get over the separation, do not hesitate to seek the help of a pro financial counsellor. Make sure that he or she is an expert at handling a client’s finances after a divorce. There are legal, financial and tax issues that need to be dealt with – and the expert, objective mind of a pro post-divorce financial planner will help you go through the task with ease and efficiency. Ask around for referrals so that you can work with someone trustworthy, and understands exactly what you are going through.
3. Take an objective inventory of your finances after the divorce.
Unfortunately, most women get the shorter end of the financial stick after going through divorce proceedings. If your husband was earning more while you were still married, will your income be enough for your family’s day-to-day expenses? This is especially crucial if you have still growing kids who are living with you. Conduct an inventory of your current assets, assess your net worth, make a list of your personal debts, and check which properties you are entitled to – those which were purchased or have gained value during your marriage.
Here’s a short list of questions that you can use as a guideline when assessing your finances post-divorce:
- What are your remaining assets?
- How much are your remaining personal debts?
- What’s the total income coming into the house after the divorce?
- What is your credit score?
- What’s your current spending amount – both for personal expenses and that of the household?
- Are there alimonies, health issues or liens which you should include in your financial recovery plan?
By answering these questions, you would have a clearer picture of what your finances actually look like after the divorce, at which point you can start putting things back together again.
4. Protect your credit and review your insurance.
You might have had joint accounts when you were still married but now that you’re divorced, what happens to the money in the bank? Your divorce lawyers should see to that, but you should also take on the task of opening your own personal bank accounts. During the divorce proceedings, see to it that any outstanding debts while you were still married have been settled. Request a copy of your credit report and correct any possible errors. Know what your credit score is and review your insurance policies. Update the beneficiaries, make sure that your health insurance is in place and consider getting long-term insurance if you’re over 50 and have just gone through a divorce.
5. Downgrade whatever aspects of your current lifestyle that you can compromise on.
If you have a huge house which was left under your name during the divorce proceedings, would you consider downgrading to a smaller dwelling now that you don’t have a spouse living with you anymore? If you have a gas guzzling car, consider trading it in for something more practical. Check on all the aspects of your current lifestyle that you can downgrade so that you can save money in the process.
6. Update your budget.
Straightening out your finances after a divorce is all about assessing what you do and do not have financially. Now’s also the best time for you to update your budget. Where will your income be coming from now that you are divorced? Do you need to take on a second job? Are there items on your budget that you can cut back on in order to save money? What about boosting your retirement funds so that you won’t have anything to worry about anymore in the future? With the negative impact that a divorce can have on your finances, you should probably take on the less is more approach when it comes to your overall lifestyle.
7. Define your long-term and short-term financial goals.
When making a list of your short-term and long-term financial goals, be specific. For instance, do not just say that you want to make more money – indicate in your list that you need to make $5,000 more than what you are earning now to live comfortably after the separation. Measure your progress along the way, and go about taking small steps to achieve your long-term financial goals.
8. Develop a plan, and take action.
Next, develop a plan and take action. If you need to take on a secondary source of income and quit your job to apply for a position which allows you to earn more money, take the steps to achieve just that. If your credit is in a bad mess after the divorce, develop a payment plan. Hire the services of a financial expert, if necessary. Then, put your plan into place by taking action.
Do a purge of your closet, the items in your household and make an inventory of all the things you own. Organize them in such a way that you can sell or donate the things that will simply remind you of your previous marriage. Get rid of the things that you don’t need anymore and simplify your life. Once you manage to achieve this, your finances will be simplified as well.
10. Tie up loose ends.
Finally, tie up any loose ends. Make changes to your will, if necessary. Change the beneficiaries of your insurance. Review your retirement documents and get rid of non-earning investments. After straightening out the madhouse that your finances turned into after a divorce, you can finally move on and look forward to the future.