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Tips for managing finances after divorce

Dividing households in a divorce often means doubling the cost of living for a couple ending their marriage. You may worry about how you will cover existing expenses after separating from your spouse.

These strategies can help you set the stage for a solid financial future after divorce.

Open new accounts

If you have not done so already, close joint accounts you share with your former spouse. Remove his or her name from credit cards and bank accounts. Open new bank accounts in your name only.

Make a realistic budget

Review your available monthly income and expenses. If you plan to stay in the family home, figure out how much it will cost to make that happen. If you need to downsize to a smaller property, research your options thoroughly and figure out what you can afford. Determine where you can eliminate unnecessary expenses and streamline your lifestyle.

Build an emergency fund

Facing life’s unexpected events, from job loss to car repairs, can seem daunting without a source of emergency financial support. Many people find that divorce depletes their savings. If that rings true for you, aim to save about three months’ of expenses in a designated account. If that number seems overwhelming, start by saving just $1,000 and grow your emergency fund from there. Having a financial cushion in place can reduce stress and provide peace of mind.

Make sure you think about your finances and create a realistic budget before negotiating a divorce agreement. The court will consider the income, expenses and financial needs of each spouse when making decisions about spousal support, property division and child support.