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Let’s talk business: marriage is the formation of an enterprise, a merger of two separate, entities with equal rights. And a divorce is, dissolving a business deal gone badly. You have to deal with your joint assets and assess your individual financial situation.
Seeing marriage from a monetary perspective might seem cold and unfeeling, but it’s a matter of life we all have to deal with. As you had to adapt your finances when you married, so will you need to do it again during and after your divorce.
Money is a huge motive for fights that can very often continue after a divorce. Throw custody and you have a potential disaster waiting to happen and wipe out all of your hopes at peace and quiet. You should have established who gets what, how much and when with those accounts while divorcing. There are some that decide to have one joint account for ease of depositing or withdrawing money that is for the needs of children. Possibly both of you want to make sure both are investing equally in your children’s college fund. You will both need to talk extensively on how any joint account is handled. This account will keep you connected, and thus communication needs to be open. Be aware that both of you can withdraw from the account. Unless you set up an account that requires both of you to consent for any withdrawals. It is more effort but will protect the funds and prevent many potential surprises. These accounts can become a reasons for petty feuds and something that links you financially with your ex`. Additionally, if for any reason your ex has their assets frozen, all accounts with their name on will be included. Personally I feel it is best to just dissolve joint accounts.
Joint debts are also an issue. Both you and your former spouse are responsible for any debts and financial agreements you have together – this includes any credit cards, loans, rent agreements, and so on. Basically, whatever you both signed, you will have to deal with even after your divorce. Different types of credit will work differently, however be aware that some of these require you to pay up if your former partner does not, which can lead to a slew of issues. It can be troublesome dealing with joint debts on your own. It is crucial that you follow up and make sure that your ex has fulfilled the divorce agreement. Such as taking you off any credit card if they are the primary cardholder. Removed you from the rental agreement and have the landlord release you from any liability. Make sure they have refinanced the mortgage or any other loans in their name only. If it cannot be changed then every month your need to verify the payment has been made. This is not the time to just take your ex’s word that everything is taken care of. Doing so you could risk damaging your credit rating and destroying your financial future for years to come. Imagine a couple years after your divorce you decide to rent a new apartment only to be denied because there is an eviction on your record. Your ex had decided to stop paying rent and when they were evicted your name was still on the lease.
Post-divorce is the time for you to worry about your individual expenses. A good form of adapting to this new financial situation is A&B – assessment & budgeting. There are lots of guides on the internet and the Finance section of this websitethat can help you budget properly. You probably knew how to before, when you were single, but the times have changed now and your former methods might not work as well. Your expenses also changed, you might have a kid or two more than what you had when you last did your individual budget, and so on… lots of factors will come in when you will create your new budget. If you do not know exactly what your expenses are; start tracking your expenses. This will help you monetarily adapt and deal with what you have to do finance-wise until you gain a more stable situation, or know better how you stand money-wise each month.
Things to assess would be: how much you make, rent to pay, how much money you spend on food and other items, household expenses, and so on and forth. Tweaking some of these after you see what you expend on each is useful for adapting yourself to a new life of individual finances.
Adjusting your life within your financial budget could require changing where you live, or where your children go to school. Not affording the house you used to or the expensive school your children went to is nothing to feel ashamed of – it’s not a financial fall from grace, it’s just that your household doesn’t have monetary input from a secondary party anymore. You shouldn’t feel guilty about having to relocate yourself or your family. You are making a responsible decision to ensure the best lifestyle that is within your means.
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