How to assess your finances post-divorce


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich (WOTV) – The first thing most people think about after deciding they want to pursue a divorce is how it will affect them financially. Will you be able to meet your expenses? Financial issues often are the cause of ending an unstable marriage and they can also be a challenge to navigate through during the divorce process. Understanding your family finances thoroughly and what your financial needs will be are vital to negotiating a secure future.

If you do not have a complete understanding of your family’s finances you need to have someone explain it to you so that you do. It can be a friend, family member or financial advisor. Gather everything relating to your debts, assets and accounts and have someone who understands finances look it over and explain it to you. If you are completely aware and understand where your assets and debts are, great, you are a step ahead.

Have someone assist you in evaluating your current and future financial needs. List all of your potential bills including rent, utilities, transportation, clothing, incidentals, groceries, childcare, school costs, health insurance, haircuts….every little thing that will give you a comfortable life.

Consider inflation and consider you need spending money. Be generous and don’t forget things like taxes. Now make a list of the absolute minimum you need to survive and pay your expenses.

Write down all of your assets and income. Compare these with your financial needs. Will you need to work full time rather than part time? What kind of money will you need every week to meet your expenses? How can you get there if it doesn’t look possible now? Make a list of alternatives. A great resource to help you can be found here.

Talk to someone who is savvy on tax issues. Your accountant is a good choice. Find out the tax implications of dissolving a 403B, or an IRA. If capital gains taxes will be incurred you want to know that so you can make wise choices on things like stocks that would have to be sold to generate cash for either party in the divorce.

You want your attorney to do discovery. Discovery is where your attorney asks to see all the accounts, assets, debts, etc. of your spouse so that he cannot hide anything. The same will likely be asked of you. You can agree to skip discovery. Don’t. It is a protection for you so you know about all of the assets and debts of the marriage.

TIP: When does your child need a therapist during your divorce? Divorce is probably the most emotional thing you and your kids will go through. Should your child see a therapist to help them through? Problems eating or sleeping, disinterest in friends, aggressive behavior toward others and a constant sadness could be clues that they may need assistance processing their feelings.

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