If you’re facing a divorce, you probably have money issues on your mind.
Finances often tear couples apart, and the divorce process can be a costly adjustment. There are important new expenses to manage – attorney’s fees, court costs, child support, and spousal maintenance – all while you work to become financially independent.
A successful divorce means one dysfunctional household becomes two independent and strong households. To make that leap, consider carefully how to manage your personal finances.
If you are a man facing divorce, these tips will help you create daily habits that support your long-term vision.
Track your current expenses and project future ones
Judges often need to understand a divorcing couple’s finances. We advise our clients to track their monthly expenses on items such as household bills, food, transportation, childcare, and more.
This monthly budget can come in handy before a court, but consider developing a simple budget for your new household even if you aren’t involved in a contested divorce case.
By closely tracking expenses during your divorce, you will better understand your post-divorce costs and can engage in more informed negotiations. You’ll have a sense of your buying power, your long-term financial goals, and how the final order will impact a 5-10 year vision for your new household.
Think about the changing needs of your children
In developing a 5-10 year vision for your finances, keep the children in mind. Expenses will likely increase as they get older, and you and your co-parent should discuss how to handle those costs.
Future expenses could included daycare, after-school activities and, eventually, college tuition. Consider and discuss how to divide those costs. Always keep in mind the longer view in order to line up daily expenses and future vision.
Avoid big new expenses
Divorces involve incredible emotional shifts. You may feel unsteady and unsure. And you may feel tempted to make more seismic life decisions than you need to.
Try not to make decisions that come with large new costs. These decisions could include a move to another city, a vehicle purchase, or a change in employment.
Those changes may all be part of your 5-10 year vision, but don’t jump in too quickly. Major changes during a divorce process can impact litigation or negotiation in harmful ways. Try to maintain the status quo as much as possible until the divorce is finalized.
Instead, once you have developed a longer-term vision for your newly independent household, make sure your divorce decree maintains the flexibility you need to get there. Preserve the status quo now, but also preserve your ability to make changes later.
Take advice from friends and family with a grain of salt
Everyone has an opinion about your divorce. Others will inundate you with pity, anger, and homespun wisdom.
Take the advice in stride. Although your friends and family mean well, no one understands your personal vision of independence like you do.
This is especially true with finances. Others may advise you to empty the bank accounts, or stay in the house to preserve a property right, or run off to Fiji. Whatever the advice, resist the urge to indulge during this emotionally trying time.
Instead, seek counsel from more emotionally distant experts. We always advise you to develop a team of expert counsel, including an attorney, financial planner, and therapist.
The advice you’ll get from this team will include more objectivity and experience than your well-meaning friends and family could muster, so listen well. Share your long-term vision with your team and heed their counsel.
Whatever brought you to this point, you are dividing one household into two. Rather than see that as an escape, we suggest that you view it as a reset, giving you another opportunity to shape your ideal life path.
Shape that path with quality planning and expert advice.
If you are a Texas husband and father seeking representation during a life-changing event like divorce, contact the Von Dohlen Law Firm at (713) 443-6730. Attorney Robert Von Dohlen has earned a reputation for tenacity and excellence in representing professional men in family law situations like divorce, child custody, spousal maintenance, and military law. Robert firmly believes that you have the same rights as your former spouse, including the right to custody, maintenance, child support, and a fair share of marital assets, and will fight to ensure you benefit from them.