If you are contemplating divorce, you likely have a vision for how you expect your post-divorce life to be. Perhaps you imagine a kind of freedom your marriage lacked or you hope to rejoin the dating scene. Unfortunately, the reality of life after divorce does not always match what people anticipate.
Money is one important factor that complicates the dreams of many New Yorkers who are getting divorced. Your financial situation may be quite different from the stability you may have enjoyed during your marriage. It is critical to prepare for this before signing the final papers and to fight for a fair division of your assets.
It won’t be easy
Going from two incomes to one is the first blow your budget will take. If you earned less than your spouse, you may count on alimony for a while, but eventually you may have to increase your income. If you were the main breadwinner in the family, be prepared for the heavy burden spousal or child support may be. In addition, you will either continue paying for your home or find a new place to live. The latter may require completely refurnishing, down to the forks and spoons.
Other financial changes may include the following:
- You won’t have your spouse’s income to rely on during a financial crisis, such as a car repair or job loss, so it is critical to begin building an emergency fund as quickly as possible.
- Federal income taxes for individuals can be much higher than filing as a couple with all the deductions a family offers.
- Other expenses, such as phone plans and insurance, may also cost more as an individual than they did when you were married.
- Your divorce will likely cut in half whatever you have saved for retirement.
- If your credit history is intertwined with your spouse’s, you may find yourself starting over to build credit in your own name.
Of course, your situation may have its own unique elements. Perhaps you and your spouse only had one vehicle, so the divorce will require you to make that major purchase. Whatever financial challenges you can anticipate now will bring you one step closer to resolving them quickly and moving forward. Much of your financial stability will depend on obtaining a fair settlement or court order from your divorce. Having a legal advocate to help with this can make a significant difference in the outcome.