Divorce or separation can be quite daunting, particularly from a financial perspective. When two people commence a relationship or marry, they often merge their assets and income. When they separate, it can put a strain on the parties financially as they each move on to be supporting households on their own. When parties go through a separation or divorce, in most cases there will need to be adjustments made when it comes to expenses. Financially, life will not be the same as it was when you were married, but you can look forward to finding your independence. This can be a harsh reality for some people, especially if they have been used to a certain standard of living.
The best way to get back on your feet financially after separation and divorce is to create a new budget, this way you know where you stand.
Creating a budget
To create a budget, you firstly need to work out your income. To do this, add the various sources of income that you receive each week, fortnight or month. These may include:
- Spousal maintenance;
- Child support;
- Centrelink benefits.
You may have other sources, in addition to those listed above. Add them all together and write the figure down as a monthly total income.
The second step involves calculating your expenses (or outgoings). These may include:
- Rates and water charges;
- Day care/school fees;
- Electricity and gas bills;
- Car fuel/insurance/registration/maintenance;
- Phone/internet bills;
- Home and contents insurance;
- Health insurance.
This is not an exhaustive list. You may have other expenses that need to be included. Be sure to factor in all of your expenses (weekly, fortnightly, monthly, quarterly, yearly and ‘other’) as there is nothing worse than receiving your car registration renewal notice and having no money set aside to pay it.
Living under two roofs instead of one will obviously be more expensive, but once you know how much money you’ve got coming in and where it needs to go, you can make a plan. By taking the time to sit down and work out your budget, you can make the necessary changes to build yourself a better financial future. You will also know for a fact, what your financial position will be after separation so that you are not in the dark.
What if my income doesn’t cover my expenses?
If your income is less than your expenses, you might need to reassess your current lifestyle and tighten the budget.
Here are a few ideas:
- Downsize your home;
- Buy a more fuel-efficient car;
- Shop more frugally and look for bargains;
- Shop around for your insurances;
- Cut Foxtel/internet;
- Get a housemate.
Sometimes being more aware of your expenses and knowing your limits can make a big difference to your lifestyle. Budgeting is a great way to take control of your financial future.
If you are considering a separation or divorce and want to know what you are entitled to, call the experts at Collective Family Law Group on the Gold Coast or in Brisbane.