Divorce can be an expensive endeavor. And we don’t mean that in the context of attorney or court fees, but rather in light of how the property division process typically plays out. Under Virginia law, you and your spouse will have to equitably divide marital assets, which means that you should get your fair share of the marital estate. Keep in mind, though, that this does not necessarily mean that you’ll receive half of the marital assets. Instead, an outcome that is fair under the circumstances will be sought.
That might leave you on edge given that you’ll have to start the next chapter of your life without the financial resources that you had access to during your marriage. To alleviate those concerns, you should start thinking about how to control your expenses and your spending post-divorce so that you can create a budget that works for you.
Budgeting for life post-divorce
The best way to alleviate your post-divorce financial fears is to be prepared. With that in mind, let’s look at some ways that you can get ready to address your financial security once your marriage has come to an end:
- Understand your income: While this means calculating the monthly income that you receive from your job, it also means figuring out how any support payments may play into your budget.
- Identify your monthly expenses: Sit down and be thorough in calculating how much money you’re going to need to cover your necessities, such as housing, utilities, transportation, and food. If your income doesn’t cover these necessities, you may need to think about taking steps to reduce their costs, such as downsizing or taking on a roommate.
- Find ways to control discretionary spending: Discretionary spending on things like eating at restaurants, going to concerts and movies and taking vacations can quickly eat into a budget. Once you calculate the cost of your necessities and how much income you’ll have coming in, you should know how much discretionary income you’ll have. But remember that you’ll want to save some of that extra money to build up an emergency fund.
- Be diligent in tracking: If you want to get real numbers related to your spending, you should track it. This can give you a realistic picture of what your budget should look like and can give you insight into where you can cut spending. There are several apps out there that can help you do this, and your bank or credit card company may have ways to help you, too.
- Think creatively: If after calculating everything it still seems like you’re going to be in a financial bind, you may want to think creatively about how you can ease the strain. This may include entering the gig economy to pick up some extra cash or figuring out new living arrangements that suit your needs.
As you’re navigating this process, you may want to consider speaking with a financial advisor. This individual may be able to give you some guidance and advice that puts you on the path to financial stability post-divorce.
Fight to get what you deserve
What your post-divorce budget looks like is going to depend, in large part, on the outcome of your property division and any support disputes. That’s why you need to aggressively advocate for the outcome that is best for you.
We know that can be stressful, especially if you’re averse to conflict. However, a legal professional can help carry the burden of arguing your case on your behalf, which very well may position you for the outcome that you need and desire.