No one gets married with the intention of getting a divorce later on, but things happen, and if that’s you, you’re not alone. Regardless of if the divorce was amicable or not, you’ll likely be faced with very similar outcomes. Potentially you’ll have to adjust your lifestyle and learn to live on one income, considering you have one, or if not, potentially look for a job, which may or may not be what you want.
In addition, you’ll very likely have to make several monetary changes to accommodate your new life. Some or all of those changes will likely impact your budget and will likely include considerations to one or more of the following:
- Kids: If you married late and you have minor children you may have to re-evaluate, in addition to everything else, after school activities and participation, and if the cost to these activities is still something that you can comfortably afford. You may have to consider how to save and pay for their college expenses, weddings, grandkids, etc. If you have disabled children you may have to plan very carefully how and who will take care of them in your absence, including while you’re at work or if you were to pass away unexpectedly or expectedly, and the financial implications associated with each action.
- Primary Home: If you get to keep the house, you’ll need to evaluate your ability to afford to pay all house expenses on your own. If there is a mortgage, would you be able to pay for it including taxes, maintenance, etc., or if not, would you need to downsize. On the other hand, if you lost your house, you’ll have to decide if buying another home makes sense, and if that will put too much strain on your budget.
- Financial Assets: If there are any retirement accounts such as 401K, 403B, IRA, ROTH IRA plans, to mention a few, you’ll most likely have to split these with your ex-partner. If you’re on the receiving end you’ll have to decide if you should roll these assets into an account, or cash them out. If you decide to cash them out you’ll need to understand the tax and long term consequences related to each. Similarly, any non-retirement accounts, cash value of life insurance policies, vacation homes, and any other join assets, including join business ventures.
- Financial Liabilities: If you have any debt such as mortgages, credit cards, auto loans, personal, or student loans, how would these be divided up, and what would be your responsibility.
- Estate Planning: If you have a large estate you’ll have to plan for estate and gift taxes. If you would have been able to have an exemption of $10.9 million in 2016 as a couple, now you would need to re-position your estate planning strategies as your exemption in 2016 just dropped to $5.45 million.
- Health Care: Would you lose health care coverage as part of the divorce, and what would it cost you to enroll in a plan of your own? Would the new coverage provide the same benefits to you as your old one? Aside of changes to your health coverage you’ll probably have to make arrangements for your care in retirement as it comes to Long Term Care. If you and your ex-spouse were thinking of taking care of each other in your old age, now you may have to drastically reconsider that, and decide if you would be able to rely on your kids, if you have any, or plan for getting external help, and if the later, would you have the means for it then, or you have to start planning for it early on.
- Entertainment: A divorce will likely impact your entertainment budget as well – you may have to rethink your dining habits so you don’t overextend yourself if you were to eat out rather than cook at home. If you use to take family trips and vacations, you may also have to rethink if that frequency and expense is sustainable. Hobbies, Sports, etc. all is going to be up for reconsideration.
- Lifestyle and Friends: Your lifestyle will likely change and like it or not most likely your friends too. If you used to do things before as a couple with other couples, chances are that you may have to either find single friends so you don’t feel the odd ball in the group, or consider dating again. If your friends had become close to your ex-spouse chances are that they may or may not be very comfortable with your new partner right from the start, if ever.
But life goes on, and everyone will eventually adjust, one way or another, hopefully to happier and more relaxed times, and hopefully with not very many financial implications.