How to Budget After a Divorce

Posted in Uncategorized on July 5, 2022

Of the many things in your life that will change after you get divorced, you can’t overlook your financial situation. You may be going from a two-income household to a one-income household. You may also have new expenses that you didn’t have before, such as renting an apartment or paying child support. The best way to prepare yourself for what is to come is by creating a smart budget for after your divorce.

Start With Your Income

The starting place for your post-divorce budget is to calculate your income. Look at all sources of income that your household receives in a given month, including your wages from work, Social Security income, military benefits, disability benefits, and child support or alimony from a previous relationship.

You should only include tips, bonuses and commissions in this calculation if you have gotten them consistently over the last few years and can reliably count on them in the future. If you do not yet have an income – if you didn’t work during your marriage – that’s okay. You can skip this step and come back to it at the end to determine how much you will need to make in a new job to cover your expenses.

List All of Your Expenses

The next step is to make a comprehensive list of all of your household’s expenses. This may take some research into your past bills and spending habits, especially if you were not the main person in charge of your finances during your marriage. Your list of monthly expenses after you get divorced may include:

  • A rent or mortgage payment
  • Banking or accounting fees
  • Car insurance
  • Car payment
  • Childcare costs
  • Clothing
  • Entertainment
  • Gas
  • Groceries
  • Gym
  • Home security
  • Home supplies
  • Homeowners or renters insurance
  • Insurance premiums
  • Lawn maintenance
  • Medications or medical bills
  • Parking or public transportation
  • Personal grooming
  • Pet costs
  • Phone, cable and internet bill
  • Subscriptions
  • Utilities

Put the actual or approximate cost of each expense per month next to the entry to calculate your total spend. Organize your list of expenses from most important to least. That way, if you go over budget or need to save money somewhere, you can easily eliminate things at the bottom of your list. You can also pause paying for non-essential items in a month where you have additional expenses, such as if your car breaks down or you have a medical emergency.

Calculate the Difference

Once you have accurate numbers of how much money is going in vs. how much is going out, subtract the difference to see if you are over budget, under budget or breaking even each month. Ideally, the disparity between your income and expenses will leave you with extra money for savings or a windfall if something should happen, such as the loss of your job. Do what you can to achieve this by assessing your spending habits and eliminating non-essential expenses – especially in the beginning, while you are still getting used to your life as a single person.

Tips for Budgeting and Saving Money After a Divorce

Getting in control of your financial situation can be difficult, especially if you aren’t used to being the breadwinner or paying the bills on your own. Use these general money-saving tips to help you reach your financial goals post-divorce:

  • Track your daily spending carefully so that you can see where each dollar goes.
  • Give yourself a budget for entertainment and non-essential items and stick to it.
  • Consider creative side jobs or freelance work for extra cash.
  • Revise your budget as necessary to remain realistic for your living situation and goals.
  • Be prepared to make difficult decisions if you have to, such as selling the family home.

Adjusting to your new life after a divorce could be the perfect time to implement better spending habits. For further information and professional assistance on how to budget after a divorce, speak to a financial advisor.

Co-Parenting During the Holidays

Posted in Uncategorized on January 4, 2022

Fort Collins child custody attorney

Although the holiday season should be a time for joy and togetherness, parents who are separated can find themselves more stressed and depressed than holly and jolly. Naturally, both parents wish to spend the holidays with their children. The inability to do so – or having to navigate a complicated custody plan – can put a damper on holiday festivities. Use these tips to help you co-parent during the holidays with as little anxiety and stress on everyone as possible.

Plan Ahead

Give yourself time to plan how you and your family will navigate the holidays as a newly separated or divorced couple. Waiting until the last minute will only add to the stress – both on you and your kids. You should create a comprehensive plan for how you will handle the holidays when you create a settlement agreement with your spouse during your divorce or legal separation. Planning ahead can help you and your children know what to expect, avoiding last-minute surprises.

Put the Kids First

Navigating the holidays post-breakup may mean trying to get along with your ex at a shared family function or coming up with a way to divide custody on holidays and special occasions. Either way, put the kids first in your decision-making. Use their holiday experience as a center point for your custody planning. Ask your children – in a way that does not pressure them to answer one way or the other – what they would like to do for the holidays. Then, do your best to accommodate their wishes. This can make it easier to make your holiday plans.

Communicate With Your Ex

You can avoid a great deal of stress and confusion by communicating with your spouse about your holiday plans from the beginning. Discuss which gifts you would like to give the kids, for example, to avoid repeated gifts or arguments. If you wish to do something special for the kids, make sure your ex is on board before telling the kids about your plans. Open communication can help you and your ex plan a special and enjoyable holiday season for your kids with minimal disagreements.

Be Flexible and Willing to Compromise

It is normal to want the holiday season to be everything that you imagined, even after you get divorced or legally separated. Realize, however, that this may not be possible with your new life. You must be willing to be flexible and make compromises to make the holiday work for everyone – especially your kids. This may mean altering your vision of the holidays or putting your plans on hold for a year. Sometimes, it is better to compromise with your ex and keep the peace than to stubbornly stick to your plans and start arguments.

Don’t Neglect Self-Care

It is okay to be depressed, anxious or overwhelmed during the holidays while co-parenting. You are handling a less-than-ideal situation the best that you can. Keep your own self-care in mind during this difficult time of year, both physically and mentally. Make time for some of your favorite holiday traditions, and spend the holiday with loved ones, even if you cannot spend it with your kids. Seek help from a therapist if the holidays are particularly hard.

Need Legal Help Co-Parenting During the Holidays? Speak to a Family Lawyer in Fort Collins, CO

If you are struggling to create a child custody agreement that determines how you will share custody around the holidays, contact an attorney for assistance. At The Law Office of Stephen Vertucci, LLC, we handle complex child custody matters and can help your family mediate or litigate a resolution. Our Fort Collins child custody attorneys have what you need to get through any family law issue, no matter how difficult or emotional. For more information, tips or advice about how to get through the holiday season as a divided family, call (970) 900-1800 for a consultation with a lawyer.