5 Ways to Financially Recover After Divorce
Divorce can be one of the most financially impactful experiences a person can have during their lifetime. Leaving a marriage can be fiscally devastating. Even if you don't feel devastated, you will probably have to adjust to a new fiscal reality after your case is final. Getting back on your feet and acclimated to your new circumstances may take time, but it is possible. Here are 5 ways to financially recover after divorce:
1. Planning and Budgeting
Whether you are thinking about divorce, in the middle of your case, or near its completion, preparing a realistic budget is going to be key. If you are not through the process, it would be best to estimate your future expenses and budget based on the information you have available. When issues have yet to be decided and finalized, you may not have specific numbers. However, you and your attorney can discuss the matter and approximate what you may have when the case is over. If you are already done with the divorce, you should prepare a monthly budget based on your new financial resources and do your best to stay within its parameters. Living within your new means may involve cutting expenses by doing things like getting rid of cable television in favor of a streaming platform, or dining in more often. Evaluate your expenditures and assess if there are any that can be eliminated or reduced.
2. Avoid Emotional Spending
Going through a divorce can be an emotional rollercoaster. For some, strong emotions can lead to unnecessary spending both during and after the case. Choosing to fight with your ex during and after the divorce will cost you. Simply put, the more you fight, the more you pay. While some legal expenses will be necessary, some issues may not be worth pursuing. When you work with an experienced Wisconsin family law attorney, you will have the guidance and advice you need to pick your battles wisely. It’s rare that anyone ends up the financial winner during or after a divorce. Do your best to only spend what is necessary and reasonable to protect your interests. Lowering conflict means lowering cost.
3. Invest in Your Well-Being Wisely
After the case ends, you may be tempted to spend money as a way of coping. If your ex was financially secretive or controlling during the marriage, having complete control over your resources for the first time can be exhilarating. Under these circumstances, it can be tempting to spend money because you finally can. Your spending may also be about trying to make yourself feel better about your loss. If you are hurt or angry at your former spouse, spending may have become a coping mechanism.
Pay attention to why you are spending. Is it to make yourself feel better? Are you trying to get back at your ex? Buying things that you don't need and living beyond your means will only harm you in the long run. Before making a large purchase, review your budget and give yourself a day or two to reflect on whether or not it’s worth what you plan on paying. If you find that you have excessive expenditures, take a step back and assess whether they are being made for emotional reasons.
It's okay to spend money on yourself and for experiences and services that make you happy. Just be sure you invest wisely in things that will ultimately benefit your well-being rather than serving as a temporary fix.
4. Prioritize Debt
For some, divorce can lead to significant debt. Whether it's your legal bills, credit cards, or secured obligations, carrying this burden can make it difficult to move forward with your life. Find a debt repayment calculator. Transfer higher interest credit card balances to 0% or low-interest cards. Develop a plan for paying off your debts and avoid taking on new ones. Even if you have to start small, paying obligations down over time can give you a sense of control over your situation. If possible, make paying off debt a priority.
5. Move on With Your Life
Letting go of the pain and residual emotions that come with divorce can be easier said than done. Depending on your circumstances, you may have had to endure a host of negative feelings during a divorce. After it's over, they won't necessarily magically disappear because you are no longer in the case. Even if you are justified in every emotion, you have, hanging onto anger, resentment, and pain will only inhibit your ability to move on financially and otherwise. Releasing what you can't change will give you more energy to devote to creating and adjusting to your new life. Take the time to attend to your emotional well-being so that you can move forward with your healing and financial recovery.
Attorney and Mediator Karyn Youso of First Look Family Law understands the complexities of divorce and the importance of Divorce Mediation. She is an attorney and Mediator with over 29 years of experience helping clients understand their options and connect with resources during and after their Wisconsin divorce cases. Contact us today andlet us take a “first look” at your situation.