Divorce does a number on your finances. You may wind up on dubious economic footing.
It’s an expensive process, you probably have to relocate, you lose assets you likely need to replace. You may even have to pay all the bills from a single paycheck for the first time or have new alimony or child support payments. You probably have some work to do to rebuild your finances post-divorce.
Rebuilding your financial life after divorce often feels as overwhelming as ending your marriage in the first place. You might even think it’s impossible.
But ending one chapter of your life gives you the chance to write a new one, one you can make anything you want.
It’s often an uphill battle, for sure. It takes work and determination. The good news is, there are ways to resuscitate your finances in the wake of divorce.
It’s important to focus on your goal, on where you want to go. Before long, if you do this, you’ll be able to reflect on where you’ve been and where you were. With that in mind, here are four things you can do to help your cause.
Related Reading: How Much Does Divorce Cost?
Rebuilding Finances Post-Divorce:
Your monthly expenses have changed now that you’re no longer married. Perhaps they’ve changed drastically.
This presents you with the perfect opportunity to assess your cost of living and to make sure you don’t overspend.
If you have no idea how to start tracking your budget and setting limits, don’t worry, there’s an app for that. Actually, there are many, many apps for that. Which one you choose depends on how much money you have, what you need, and other specifics of your situation.
Some simply track money coming in and going out. Others help you save, or cut costs, or invest, and much more. These often help you rebuild finances following a divorce.
Related Reading: My Ex Promised to Pay for Our Child’s College but Backed Out
William Shatner once said, “If saving money is wrong, I don’t want to be right.” And if we can’t trust Captain Kirk on money matters, who can we trust?
All joking aside, the advice to save if you can is sound and can help rebuild your finances after divorce decimates your bank account.
Maybe you emptied your savings to pay for a divorce lawyer, or you lost a chunk of your retirement funds in the settlement. Recent divorcees often find themselves in precarious positions when it comes to money.
Setting both long and short term saving goals are important steps to reestablishing a level of financial security. Many experts recommend having cash saving equal to three-to-six months of income. That’s not always feasible, but it’s not a bad goal.
Banks or other financial institutions often offer free initial consultations with investment professionals. They can assess your situation and offer advice to get you going. Every situation is different, but it’s a good idea to have a plan in place.
Related Reading: How are Assets Split Up in Divorce?
It’s probably no surprise that divorce also often impacts your credit rating.
From here on out, you’ll be setting up credit cards and bank accounts, and applying for loans solo. It’s in your best interest to keep an eye on your credit and do what you can to improve your score.
Having a good personal credit history comes into play in a number of areas. It may impact renting a new place or securing a home loan. The same goes for if you need a new car or finance a furniture purchase. In some cases, credit scores even impact your job prospects.
Even if you have good credit, keep an eye on it. Pay your bills on time, keep up with child or spousal support payments, and try not to carry a bunch of unnecessary debt. Many services help you monitor your information.
In the wake of divorce, this often manifests in multiple ways.
Ending your marriage doesn’t automatically change any financial agreements. For example, if you and your ex took out a home loan, divorce doesn’t remove your name. You remain liable for that money.
In many cases, the court may award a home–or car or other major assets on which you still owe money–to one party. The divorce decree will likely include language that your spouse must refinance, usually by a certain date.
If that happens, great. Just know that it doesn’t always go as planned. But if not, you’re still on the hook, fair or not, and it may ding your score.
Establishing and maintaining your credit will help you rebuild your finances after a divorce. Like with budgeting, you have your choice of countless apps and services to help you. There are also many tips and strategies to boost your credit.
Related Reading: My Ex Agreed to Pay Off the Debt but Didn’t, What Can I Do?
Make a Clean Break
Making a clean break post-divorce goes a long way to resuscitating your finances.
Close all joint accounts. Take your name off of titles, registrations, and deeds. As we said, if you’re on any loans, make sure they’re refinanced with your name removed.
Not only does tying up loose ends keep your finances tight and in check, but it also may help you move on emotionally. It offers definitive closure.
Though it feels impossible to rebuild your finances post-divorce, you can do it. With planning, discipline, and maybe some professional help, you can start to regain your economic footing.
Related Reading: We Got Divorced, Why Am I Still On the Hook for the Home Loan?