Setting a realistic budget for marriage separation is part of the major change that comes with ending a marriage.
Financial Changes on Divorce
When a couple divorces, they need to be prepared for some major changes in their financial lives. These changes tend to be gender-based, with most women who get divorced seeing their standard of living decline. Men, on the other hand, tend to enjoy a higher standard of living after their marriage ends.
Even if a woman is awarded spousal support as part of a divorce order, she may not receive the full amount her former husband was ordered to pay to her. Relying on funds that may not actually arrive can make creating a budget for marriage separation very challenging.
Budget for Marriage Separation: Calculate Income
A person who is recently separated or thinking of ending their marriage needs to consider the financial consequences of their actions very carefully. The first step in making a budget for life as a separated or divorced person is to add up all the income that comes in on a monthly basis. Include all sources of income, whether from paid work, investments or other sources. It's best to err on the side of caution and avoid including sources of income like alimony or overtime if they are not guaranteed to come in.
Add Up Expenses
Once the income part of the equation has been added up, expenses need to be itemized. Gathering up past utility, tax and credit card bills is a good way to figure out exactly how much is going out each month - and where it is being paid.
The list of expenses can be further sorted into fixed ones and variable ones. Fixed expenses, such as rent or mortgage, taxes, and utilities are ones that can't be changed. If cuts need to be made to the budget, they need to come from areas of variable expenses.
Suggestions for Cutting Costs
If the math doesn't add up and expenses need to be trimmed further, look at the discretionary spending. There may be room to trim the fat from add-ons like extra cable packages and other entertainment spending.
The cost of take-out meals is another thing that can take a large chunk out of a separated or divorced person's budget. Packing a lunch on work days and taking a thermos of coffee instead of buying it can free up some much-needed funds when going through a separation or divorce.
Plan to Treat Yourself Well
After separation or while going through a divorce, a person can still plan to treat themselves well. Go for a walk or have a bubble bath to unwind and let go of the frustrations that can come with this major life change.
For example, instead of going out with friends for dinner, plan to meet at a restaurant for coffee and dessert or meet at someone's home instead. Now is not the time to be isolated; the support of family and friends will help to make the transition a bit easier.
The decision to end a marriage is not an easy one, and there are financial consequences for both parties. By making a careful budget for marriage separation, it is possible to keep track of money matters while going through this stage.