When you’re going through a divorce, the emotional turmoil is the thing that hits first. The realization that your marriage has come to an end and life is going to change for you and your whole family. You’re going to be living alone for the first time in a long while and you’ll have to find a way to explain the situation to your children and ensure that they still have a good relationship with both parents. There are always going to be residual feelings there, even if the marriage didn’t end on good terms, and that’s very difficult.
But once the dust has settled, it’s time to reinvent yourself and part of that is dealing with all of the practical stuff. One of you is going to need to find a new place to live and you’ll have to deal with all of the general responsibilities of running a household on your own, but the thing that hits hardest is the financial impact. When you’re married, you’re sharing all of the financial burdens but now, it’s up to you to do it alone. This is especially hard if it was only your partner that was working. All of a sudden, your household income is gone and you need to find a way to manage your finances properly. Regaining your financial independence after a divorce can be tough and a lot of people feel completely lost, especially if they’ve been out of work looking after their family for a long time. If you’re worried about your financial situation following a divorce, make sure to follow this advice.
See What Help Is Available
If you’re too proud to ask for help, you’re going to really struggle to get by. It’s going to take a while before you’re completely financially independent again and you’ll need some help in the meantime, so you need to look into your options right away. If you have custody of the children, you will be entitled to child tax credits, working tax credits, and child benefit. If you have one child and your household income is under £26,200, you will be eligible for child tax credits. If you have 2 or more children, the cut off increases to £32,900. It’s important that you apply for these benefits as soon as possible because they’ll be a big help when you’re trying to manage your finances.
Depending on your situation, you may also be eligible for jobseekers allowance and housing benefits. A lot of people feel that they’re too proud to accept this kind of help but that’s what it’s there for, it’s just to help you out for a while until you can get back on your feet so there’s no need to feel bad about it.
Your friends and family may also offer you some help, which is great, but you’ve got to be careful. Borrowing money from friends and family can get complicated and have an impact on your relationship with them. If you have nowhere else to turn then it’s ok as a last resort but you should avoid it where possible.
Budget Your Settlement
Once the divorce proceedings are done with and you’ve got your settlement, it’s important that you start budgeting it properly right away so you can make it last for as long as possible while you decide what your next steps are going to be. Depending on the size of the settlement, you might have to make some big cuts to your budget. Start out by drawing up a list of your essential costs like the mortgage, gas and electric bills, food bills, and anything that you need for the kids. That should give you a good idea of what your spending is likely to be each month and whether you can afford anything else on top. If you have custody of the children, it’s likely that you’ll be getting maintenance payments, but it’s important to remember that once they leave home, you won’t be getting that money anymore and you need to plan for that, especially if you’re not going to go back into work.
In some cases, your settlement might be enough to live on for the rest of your life and you may not need to go back into work. If you’re going to go down that route, it’s best to speak with a financial planner so they can give you a solid idea of the lifestyle that you can afford based on the money that you have.
Improve Your Job Prospects
If the settlement isn’t enough to sustain you for the rest of your life, you’re going to have to go back into work. The problem is, if you haven’t worked for a while, you’re at a disadvantage because the job market is very competitive and you’ll be up against people that have a lot of recent experience, so you need to find ways to improve your job prospects. If you have a degree already, you could look into some of the masters programs at Aston Online and take one of those in your spare time. Having a higher level of education will improve your chances of getting a job, even though you’ve got a big career gap.
You should also look into any other online courses that you can do that might improve your skills and make you more employable, so it’s easier to find well paid work.
Long term financial planning is so important after a divorce, especially if you didn’t get the pension in the divorce settlement. When you get your settlement and once you start earning again if you’re going back into work, you should start looking into investments. If you start putting money away in sensible places now, you can watch it grow and put yourself in a stronger financial position when you’re older. The best thing to do is speak with a financial planner and tell them that you want to invest your money, they’ll be able to advise you on the best places to put it.
Dealing with the financial fallout of divorce can be very difficult but as long as you remain calm and plan properly, you will be able to regain your financial independence.
- contributed post