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What Will Your New Life Look Like Financially after Divorce?

Before you sign a divorce decree, make decisions on a house, and negotiate marital resources, you need to know what your new life will look like after your divorce. The first step is putting together a Cash Flow for the new you.

First, think about your household separately and estimate your monthly expenses once you’re single like rent, cable, insurance, cell phone, groceries, etc. Total them. Remember to add any children’s expenses that you are responsible for entirely. Also, don’t skimp too much on Full Discretionary. You and the kids will need a way to release stress after a divorce. Estimate Annual Needs like Vacations, camp, and car insurance that are large expenses and come up yearly or a few times per year.

Total up all your income including your salary, child support, other income and alimony, if applicable.  Subtract your expenses from your income. If the number is not positive by at least $300-500/month (margin), go back and start trimming expenses. 

Here’s an example of what a cash flow looks like:

Monthly Cash FlowAmt./Mo.
Paycheck Take Home Income$5,600
Child Support$2,200
Total Take Home Income$7,600
Housing$3,200
Expenses$2,400
Full Discretionary$1,200
Remaining$800
Annual Expenses Savings$450
MARGIN for goals and savings$200
Cushion$350

Here you see the sample person has $200/month of MARGIN for goals and savings. In this case, the person could trim expenses or find a cheaper housing situation to make sure he/she can save a bit more each month. 

Divorce is a tricky process to navigate. As you work through this, make sure you have experts in your corner advocating for your best interests. Learn more about some Do’s and Don’ts of divorce as you start the process.

Make sure you do a cash flow of your new life before committing to any decree. You need to know that you can live in your new financial situation and take care of your children.  Even if you want to stay in your house or desperately want to move, make sure you do a cash flow and see how much you can realistically afford for housing. Get help figuring out your new financials if you need it!