Before you take the final step of filing for divorce, take the time to smooth out the path ahead by making plans in advance. Depending on whether or not your divorce will be friendly, you may want to make plans together with your soon-to-be ex-spouse or on your own. Experts recommend that your plans address several key areas that will affect your life and finances.
First of all, you will need to figure out how much money you will need to get by after the divorce. Sit down and put together a list of projected expenses. If you will stay in the marital home, put down the monthly mortgage or rent, as well as maintenance expenses such as landscaping or pool services. If you plan on moving out, factor in the costs of the move and typical rent in your area. Other expenses can include car payments, gas or public transportation, groceries and incidentals. Knowing how much you will need to spend is the first step toward figuring out how you will cover your bills in the future.
Another area that your divorce will affect is insurance. If you are currently listed as a dependent on your spouse’s health insurance, you need to figure out an alternative way to get coverage after the divorce. If either of you has an existing medical condition that could create serious problems later, this can affect the terms of your insurance, so be sure to look thoroughly into all available options. Review other policies such as life insurance and property insurance, and make changes as necessary.
For most people, the cost of life after a divorce goes up because they find themselves solely responsible for bills that they previously split with their partners. Examine your anticipated expenses and your current earning capacity, and consider whether you need a way to increase your income. This can include going back to school, getting additional training or increasing your work hours in your current position. Whichever path you decide on, you will be better off if you start taking steps long before you actually divorce.
Some divorcing spouses are able to work these matters out between themselves. Most, however friendly their divorce may be, find it easier to arrive at an agreement in a mediation setting with a neutral third party who can help facilitate an agreement on what is best for everyone. Many also choose to be represented by an attorney during mediation, though the setting will be cooperative rather than oppositional. A qualified attorney in your area can help you learn more about the options that are best for you in your particular circumstances.