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Last Updated on: 15th October 2023, 09:02 am
Ending a marriage can be an extremely difficult and emotional process. When one spouse decides to prolong the divorce proceedings, it can add even more stress and uncertainty. From a financial perspective, a dragged out divorce can wreak havoc on your budget and financial stability. Here are some tips on how to survive financially if your spouse drags out the divorce:
The first step is to take an honest look at your finances and adjust your budget for your new reality. With only one income coming in, you will likely need to cut back on discretionary spending. Review all of your monthly expenses – housing, utilities, car payments, insurance, etc. and see where you can trim costs. For example, you may need to downsize your housing or take on a roommate to lower costs. Building a detailed budget based on your actual income and expenses is essential.
With only one income, you may need to explore ways to increase your earnings if possible. Can you take on a side job or freelance work? Is there room for promotion or growth in your career that can boost your pay? Even an extra few hundred dollars a month can make a big difference. Don’t be afraid to take on work outside your comfort zone if needed.
Don’t try to tough it out alone. Reach out to close friends and family for emotional and even financial support if needed. Maybe a family member can help cover a bill temporarily or help out with childcare. If you have joint custody of kids, see if you can swap weeks to give yourself a break. Accept help from loved ones when offered.
Meeting with a financial advisor or consultant can help you navigate this difficult transition. They can review your full financial picture and suggest ways to restructure your budget and finances. A professional can also advise you on how to split assets, plan for retirement, and adjust investment strategies post-divorce. Don’t be afraid to seek outside help.
Even with careful budgeting, unexpected expenses inevitably come up. With a single income, these surprise costs can be hard to absorb. Try to bulk up your emergency savings to cover at least 3-6 months of living expenses. Temporarily reduce 401K contributions if needed to free up cash. Explore 0% credit cards for larger purchases. Saving up a cushion can help you weather surprise costs.
With a reduced income, keeping up with mortgage, car, and credit card payments can be a struggle. But missing payments can trash your credit score and make everything more difficult. Prioritize keeping current on secured debt like your home and auto loans. Contact lenders to explain the situation and request temporary relief or new payment plans if possible.
It may be tempting to halt retirement contributions temporarily to free up money. But time in the market is critical, so try to keep putting away something if you can. Aim to contribute at least enough to get any employer match. A financial advisor can help you model different savings scenarios. Retirement funds will be vital down the road.
If you own a home, vacation property, or other large assets together, you may need to sell them to access equity and improve your cash flow. Coming to an agreement on selling joint property can be challenging if your spouse is uncooperative. You may need to get a court order mandating the sale. Consult your divorce attorney on options for liquidating joint assets.
If money is extremely tight, look into any government and nonprofit programs available to help. For example, you may qualify for food stamps, utility bill assistance, free medical care, job training programs, or other aid. Don’t let pride get in the way – these programs exist to help people get back on their feet.
It can be tempting to rely on credit cards or personal loans to stay afloat. But this just creates a debt spiral that is hard to escape. Borrow only as an absolute last resort. Explore other options like budgeting, increasing income, or aid programs first. More debt will only compound the financial pain down the road.
Ideally, you and your spouse can reach an amicable settlement. But if your partner insists on fighting over assets and dragging it out, be the bigger person ready to compromise. Hiring lawyers and going to court will drain your funds fast. Seek middle ground when you can to help move things along.
Keep meticulous records on income, expenses, assets, debts, etc. You’ll need to provide documentation as part of the divorce proceedings. Being organized can help speed up the process and potentially reduce legal expenses. Keep copies of tax returns, bank statements, investment accounts, and anything related to joint finances.
It can be tempting to make a big financial move like buying a house, switching jobs, or relocating. But hold off on any major changes until the divorce is finalized, as it can complicate the proceedings. Maintain the financial status quo as much as possible. Consult your lawyer before any big purchases or moves.
This process takes a huge emotional toll. Seek support from family, friends, therapists, support groups, or clergy. Don’t isolate yourself. Talk to others who have gone through a divorce to get advice and feel less alone. Prioritize self-care and have healthy outlets like exercise. Your mental health is just as critical as the financials.
Going through a drawn out divorce can put you in a very vulnerable financial position. Adjusting your lifestyle, budgeting carefully, increasing income, and seeking support can help you survive this challenging transition. With planning and compromise, you can build a stable financial life on your own terms.
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