Part 1: Post Divorce Budget
….is a question that always comes up in my initial consultations. It’s a completely valid concern. There is only so much money to cover two sets of living expenses as you split one household in two. The goal is to get a realistic idea of your living expenses as you start negotiating with your spouse about balancing out your incomes. Attorneys will often suggest that you create an inflated budget to persuade the Judge that you’re entitled to more support from your spouse. Maybe so, but eventually such spousal support will end, and then you’ll have to figure out how to pay your bills without it. The sooner you join the reality-based community and live within your new budget, the better prepared you’ll be for the future. So let’s talk about how critical post divorce budget is.
TIP: Start with a post-divorce budget. Aim for a reasonable budget, rather than “bare bones” or one with lots of discretionary stuff. You may use your current and historical spending to create your starting point, however remember that majority of your expenses will be different after divorce. For example, a family of four may have historically spent $600 per month on groceries. Whereas now each parent splits his or her time with their children, and a more realistic post divorce expense might be $450 per month. Also don’t forget to add expenses that do I come up every month but they creep up once a year, like car registration, gifts, graduation expenses, annual premiums and membership fees, etc.
The more time you spend on your post divorce budget, the fewer financial surprises will come up and the better you will be prepared to start rebuilding your finances.
You can find details on how to complete a post-divorce budget in my book The Bedroom Elephant: A Guide to Successful Divorce at http://www.amazon.com/The-Bedroom-Elephant-Successful-Divorce-ebook/dp/B00H4E61BM