Divorce is a really stressful and emotional time, but that's no reason to let your finances slip. Good planning and decision-making now will make life much easier for you in the future, and you don't want to make any costly mistakes. Follow the three tips below and work with your family lawyer to stay on top of your financial situation during divorce proceedings, and things will feel much less overwhelming.
Create an Accurate Budget
Working out a budget for your post-divorce lifestyle is an important part of reaching a fair settlement, but it can be pretty hard to do. You'll need to account for household bills and expense, expenses relating to any children you have, and possible future expenses. It's best to seek advice from a financial planner to get to the bottom of all the paperwork and produce a fair and accurate budget. You should also take inflation into account, particularly if you have young children who will have future expenses like college.
Don't Use Your Divorce Lawyer as a Therapist
Divorce lawyers are pricey, and they charge by the hour. That means that any time you spend talking to your lawyer about how unfair your ex-partner is being, how stressed you are, how the kids are coping, etc., is costing you a ton. Instead of pouring your heart out to a lawyer who's only qualified to help you with legal issues, seek help from the right type of professional. This could be a therapist, mediator or financial planner. You'll get the help you need without spending a fortune on all the hours spent in your lawyer's office.
Create a Post-Divorce Financial Plan
Once the divorce is finalized, you need to take an honest look at your financial situation. Your old plan won't work anymore - at the very least, you'll need to make some small changes; at the most you'll need a whole new plan. You'll need to look at your household income, your expected future expenses, your career goals, your assets, and your plans for the future. This can feel overwhelming, but it's crucial that you don't stick your head in the sand. Knowing your financial situation is the only way to take control of it.
Update Estate Documents
Once your divorce is complete, you'll need to update all estate documents. These will include wills, life insurance policies - anything that names your ex-partner as a beneficiary. In some cases, you'll be able to update the documents while your divorce is still in progress to ensure your wishes are honored in the event of your untimely death.
Divorce is hard enough as it is - be sure to stay on top of your finances to make things easier.