Getting a divorce can be incredibly painful for you and your family. Your whole world is going to change, which can have both ups and downs. Even if you’re looking forward to being divorced, if you were a stay at home mom in your marriage, you’re worried about how you’re going to financially support yourself and your children.
Here are some tips on how to make money matters easier, as well as why it’s important to contact a divorce lawyer to represent you.
Prepare for Your Divorce
If you know you’re going to file for divorce, make sure you can access all of your bank accounts and other assets. Look into your credit score and fully assess where you stand financially.
Apply for Alimony and Child Support
You could be eligible for both alimony, also called spousal support, and child support. It’s possible that you’ll receive alimony since you took care of the children instead of worked throughout the course of your marriage. You could receive the money you need through alimony and child support to pay for your basic needs and cover expenses for your children.
Even if you get your house in the divorce, you could be stuck with expensive mortgage payments that you realistically won’t be able to afford. You may want to sell it and then move into a cheaper place. If you don’t get the house, you should look into downsizing to an apartment or something more affordable until you start making money. You might have to cut back on other expenses like eating out and vacations for now. Though it could be difficult, in the end it’s going to be worth it because you’ll come out ahead.
Use a Budget
A budget can keep your spending on track and help you save for the future. A basic budget entails spending 50% of your money on needs, 30% on wants, and 20% on debts and savings. You can use apps like Mint or YNAB to automatically link up your bank accounts, track your spending, and receive financial tips.
Increase Your Credit Score
After your divorce, you may find that your credit score is low because nothing was put in your name or you and your partner had debts and other credit issues. First, check your credit report and score through places like Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. You can see if there are any discrepancies or fraud on your report that you need to dispute. Then, you can take out a credit card with a small limit that you will use and pay off in full every month. Gradually, overtime, you should start to increase your score. If you can’t afford to do that right now, then don’t. Getting into debt could set you back with your score and make it harder for you to access credit and loans when you need them.
Build Your Emergency Fund
It’s always a good idea to work on creating your emergency fund. Typically, you’ll want to have at least several months’ worth of funds in there in case you lose your source of income. But if that seems too daunting, just start with a basic $1,000 emergency fund. You can do automatic transfers whenever you receive a deposit into your account, which means you won’t even have to think about saving.
Update Your Estate Plan
If you have a will, trust, beneficiary designations, or other aspects of an estate plan, you’ll need to update them following a divorce. You might need to take your spouse off of your documents, for instance. Get in touch with a lawyer in order to make these changes to ensure that they are legally binding.
Go Back to Work
Jumping back into the workforce can be tough, especially once you’ve been away for so long. But in the gig economy, you can ease in by doing a part-time or contract job. You may be able to find flexible employment online. If you need to go back to school to pursue a degree or get additional training, then scholarships and financial aid could be available to you. All you need to do is apply for them through Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®). You could also keep costs down by attending a local community college or city or state school.
Hire a Divorce Lawyer
Though it will cost you in the short term, in the long term having an experienced divorce lawyer represent you can pay off big time. They may be able to show that you deserve alimony and child support and advocate to the judge for your needs. In a time when you feel alone, they’ll help and support you to ensure you will have a bright future ahead.
Right now you’re going through many different challenges with your divorce, but with strong representation on your side, you’ll likely experience a much more positive outcome. Get in touch with a skilled and compassionate divorce attorney in your local area.