Getting Your Finances in Order After a Divorce
Finally filing for divorce can give you the sense of freedom you've been longing for. You probably think that, now that you’re no longer legally attached to your spouse, you can begin a new chapter in your life. While this is definitely true, there is one thing that may stand in your way: finances.
In order to set yourself up for the best possible future, it’s important to first achieve financial independence.
Take a Close Look at Your Finances
Before you can figure out your budget, you need to understand what resources are available to you. Inspect your tax returns, investment portfolios, retirement accounts to see where you have money available. Set up your own new checking and savings accounts so you alone have access to your money.
Factor in Asset Division
You should also remember that NY is an equitable distribution state, meaning that you and your spouse’s assets will be divided so that each of you will receive your fair share of assets — but that does not necessarily mean your property will be split 50/50.
For this reason, it’s essential to have a divorce attorney skilled in property distribution who can look into all assets — tangible and intangible — you and your spouse share so you get all that you’re entitled to in order to become more financially after the divorce.
Create Your Budget
Even with spousal maintenance, you’ll likely be going from a double to single-income household. That means you’re going to have to take existing and new expenses into account.
For starters, calculate your current expenses, such as mortgage payments, utilities, and groceries. You should also factor in any debts you still have, such as student loan payments or credit debt, in order to determine how you’ll be able to continue to pay those down over time. Do your best to work strictly with cash so you don’t wrack up more debt on credit cards, and cut back on more frivolous spending wherever possible.
You should also plan for any future expenses, such as birthdays, vacations, and school trips. Do your best to budget and save for these events,that way, they don’t catch you by surprise when they come up on your calendar.
Find Ways to Earn More Income
Especially while you’re separated from your spouse and waiting for spousal maintenance to be worked out, you may find yourself in need of supplemental income. You may want to consider getting a weekend job, increasing your hours at a part-time job you already have, or going back to school in order to earn a degree that can help you get a higher-paying job.
Affording Going Back to School
While going back to school may seem like too great an expense, depending on the details of your marriage, the court may see fit to grant temporary rehabilitative maintenance to help you gain the proper skills to have your own career and be financially independent.
This is most often ordered when the lesser-earning spouse has been out of the workforce for a long period of time or cares for young children and needs more time to get back on their feet financially.
Rebuild Your Credit
Sharing bank accounts, credit cards, and other financial means with your spouse can sometimes take a toll on your personal credit. But to gain financial independence after a divorce, there are a few things you’ll want to consider:
Get Your Own Credit Card: A new card can help increase your credit score, but do not apply for many at once, since the “hard inquiries” can hurt your score.
Keep Up with Payments: Making credit and loan payments on time helps increase your credit score.
Consider Bankruptcy: When debt is severely affecting your life, bankruptcy may be an option before or after your divorce.
Experienced Divorce and Bankruptcy in Livingston County
When you don’t know what the next step looks like, you need an experienced and knowledgeable advocate to help you be successful. The team at Duke Law Firm, P.C. has fought for countless clients throughout Livonia, Lakeville, and Livingston counties, and is passionate about helping them create a better future.
Contact us today to schedule a meeting with us.