Getting a divorce can be costly. You will have charges specifically for the divorce like attorney or mediator fees. You may have to refinance loans so that you and your spouse can separate the payments. And once the divorce is final, you will have to start supporting your household with one income instead of two.
Understanding the financial burdens of divorce can help you prepare. Here are some tips for managing your finances through divorce:
- Manage debt before the divorce – Before you and your spouse divorce, go through all joint accounts. Try to pay them off before you start divorce proceedings. If you can’t, make sure that when you split them the person not responsible for the debt gets his or her name taken off the account. The divorce settlement may have placed your spouse as solely responsible for a joint credit card. But if he or she doesn’t pay the bill and your name is still on the account, the lender will report the delinquency to your credit too.
- Plan a budget before divorce – Before you get divorced, make sure you understand the cost involved. Save for the costs of an attorney or mediator. Research the different scenarios you may find yourself in and what they may cost.
- Plan a budget for after divorce – Once your divorce is final, your expenses will change. Instead of two incomes covering shared expenses, your single income will need to pay for housing, a car, insurance, a cell phone, utility bills and many more. Sit down before your divorce is final and make sure you get a good estimate of these expenses and budget accordingly. You will probably adjust this budget after the divorce is over and you gain more experience paying for things by yourself.
- Consider future implications during property division – Washington is a community property state, so if a divorce court splits your assets, they will split them down the middle. But if you can work out an agreement without going to court, make sure you consider how taxes affect different accounts, like retirement. If you are in a higher tax bracket, then you want accounts that have less tax requirements.
Divorce is a major life event. Most people prepare for the upfront cost. But once the divorce is over, your financial situation changes drastically.
With a good financial plan, you can make sure that you are prepared for life after a divorce.