8 Tips for Handling the Post-Divorce Financial Transition

Uncontested Divorce Mediation

Posted May 22, 2019

Getting divorced is a huge transition in anyone’s life, no matter how long you were married or how much household there is to divide. You may have braced yourself for the emotional impact of divorce but many divorcees falter during the financial transition from married to single and separate. The financial difference between paying expenses as a couple and living alone is profound. Even those prepared for it may still find themselves struggling to rebuild their lifestyle with new expectations.

Fortunately, this is something that millions like you have gone through before and there are more than a few tricks ‘in the book’ for handling post-divorce lifestyle changes. This article will share some of the tricks we have learned along the way for making this part of your life both more enjoyable and easier to budget for.

1) Take the ‘Fresh Start’ Perspective

The finalization of your uncontested divorce in Chicago is the beginning of a new chapter in your life. Instead of thinking about what is behind you, look at your new lifestyle like the beginning of a movie with the hero looking hopeful holding nothing but a single suitcase. This is a time to rebuild your life from the ground up philosophically. Look at your budget like an opportunity, instead of a step-down. Figure out what you and afford and get excited about real opportunities available to you right now.

You’ll still do a lot of thinking about the past, but starting fresh is a good way to help yourself to be ambitious and appreciative of what you can now build as a single person free from your previous relationship. Believe it or not, this will help you spend smarter, with less impulse spending due to sadness.

2) Prepare to Pay Taxes as a Single Professional

The single biggest financial difference for divorcees is the tax burden. When married couples file jointly, they save the government some paperwork and create a statistical sense of national stability. So a tax cut is the reward. Filing as a single professional, you will need to pay the standard income tax for your state.

It’s best to never be surprised by taxes. So before your uncontested divorce in Chicago is even finalized (or as soon as you think of it), review an analysis of your new tax reality. This way, you’ll know exactly how your single professional taxes factor into your new annual budget.

3) Work Your Budget Backward

Most people think of their budgets starting with discretionary spending. Instead, work your budget backward to find your limits. Start with rent, utilities, car payments, commute gas, and insurance. These might be reduced with planning but are immutable month-to-month. Leave yourself some cushion for rent if you’re planning on moving soon.

Then calculate your grocery budget, which should include restaurants spending as well. Most divorcees find a way to reduce their grocery bills as a way to cushion the post-divorce transition. If you have any other monthly expenses that are necessary, include them in the necessary budget. 

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From there, calculate all your monthly expenses that can be temporarily cut without missing them too much. Online subscriptions, streaming tv channels, and services you may not even use after moving are all on this list. 

Finally, your discretionary budget is left. This is what you have remaining to spend on enjoyable things, emergencies, or your children’s activities.

4) Refine Your Rent Budget

Rent has a special place in post-divorce planning, as separating usually involves one or both ex’s seeking a new place to live. And usually, both have to redefine their filters in the housing search. The most important thing to consider is that you will probably want to look at a lower price range of housing than you were used to as a married person.

The best way to find the best opportunity in your price range is to use search filters. Don’t even look at houses that rent for higher than you can afford or that don’t have the amenities you need. Then you won’t be tempted to go over budget. Instead, weigh your options inside your practical math-derived price range to find the best of what’s available.

Be willing to consider interesting compromises like a rural home, a gated apartment, or a nice duplex.

5) Consider a Safe Roommate

One such compromise might be to get yourself a safe and friendly roommate to share a home with. You may be able to upgrade our housing expectations with a roommate and having another adult in the house can give you someone to talk to as you get used to living without your spouse. Many divorcees choose to live with a best friend or family member after your uncontested divorce in Chicago, and some find a nice stranger who can become a friend along the way.

The right roommate not only shares the cost of rent, but they can also share the cost of groceries. Once you’re sure they are trustworthy, you may also be able to rely on them for occasional supervision of your children.

6) Get Ambitious About Your Career

Before your divorce, you may have just been coasting at work while dealing with the personal stuff. But now, you have every reason to become more successful independently than you were when married. Now is the perfect time to become ambitious about your career. Address your work with new vigor and enthusiasm. Make friends with coworkers and assess what the next big career step could be for you.

If there’s a promotion in your sights, start working hard for it and let your superiors know you’re in the running. If the job has dead-ended for you, or you are moving away, start looking for a promising new opportunity in your field or a step up to a higher position with your experience. Not only will you be furthering your career. You are also aiming for a higher salary and better benefits to improve your post-divorce lifestyle. And this time, your retirement savings are entirely your own.

7) Start Experimenting in the Kitchen

Eating at restaurants can suddenly seem very expensive once your finances are split by the divorce. So can ordering takeout or buying pre-made meals to eat at home. Most divorcees start saving by eating at home more, which means experimenting in the kitchen with raw ingredients. You don’t have to be a master chef to figure out a Grilled Cheese or to pan-fry a piece of chicken.

Over time, you’ll get better at cooking what you like, and may start experimenting by combining your favorite ingredients together to resemble familiar dishes. Not only will you be saving yourself money by cooking at home, but you’ll also be gaining valuable skills in wooing your next special someone when they happen across your path.

Online recipes are a great source of ideas and easy-to-follow instructions for beginners and culinary adventurers.

8) Teach Your Kids About Budgeting

Finally, whether or not you have custody, get your kids involved. If you have any children. Divorce brings up a lot of questions about budget and your children are bound to notice some of the signs that both parents are now hesitant about spending. You can make parenting easier and ease the stress kids can feel during the uncontested divorce in Chicago process by involving your children in the budgeting.

Instead of becoming the “no” chorus, start teaching your children about how to budget and to manage a finite amount of money. Give them a small grocery store stipend instead of denying each request. Then your children will learn how to value what they want vs what it costs. Talk about household budget and even ask for their opinion on choosing a new home, browsing Zillow together.

Teaching your children budgeting will improve their life-long money management and will make it easier to have certain talks about why your lifestyles have changed. With involvement, your children may even enthusiastically help you cut costs, making the entire experience an adventure instead of deprivation.

Contact Divorce Mediators in Chicago Today

Handling the financial transition of your uncontested divorce in Chicago smoothly is all about seeing the bump coming. You’re going to need to file taxes alone in the coming years. You will be covering the entirety of your own rent, bills, and groceries. But you will also be doing so as a free and independent professional with your entire life ahead of you. The more practically you plan, the easier the transition will become. Talk to Split Simple about how to plan your divorce so that this transition is as smooth as possible, including a detailed prospectus of your change in taxes and potential living expenses. Contact Split Simple today to start the process of reaching an uncontested divorce in Chicago.

Split Simple

Two Prudential Plaza

180 North Stetson Avenue #3500

Chicago, IL 60601