When you are strongly considering divorce, it is helpful to define your goals by thinking about what you need and want from your divorce. Having a clear idea of what you want and what your financial needs will be after the divorce will prepare you for working effectively with your attorney to negotiate a favorable divorce settlement agreement. It is helpful to ask yourself the following questions:
Although it may be difficult to pin down exactly what your post-divorce expenses will look like, bank statements are a good place to start for information about typical monthly expenses or one time annual expenses such as house insurance you will want to include in your forecasted budget.
After looking over your monthly expenses, you may discover that keeping the family home in the divorce is too costly when factoring in monthly payments, taxes and insurance, and maintenance. Downsizing to a smaller home or an apartment might make more financial sense at least in the short term. You may have to cut a number of expenses where you can in order to meet priorities such continuing to pay tuition for a child’s school or leasing a vehicle to get back and forth to work.
Next determine if you will need spousal support. These days spousal maintenance is awarded temporarily unless you were married a very long time. Temporary or rehabilitative spousal support allows a spouse time to secure employment or get the training and education they need to obtain employment so that they can be financially intendent.
With financial independence as the goal, knowing that spousal support is finite, ask yourself what skills you will need to reenter the workforce and what education or training you will need. Make a plan including how much tuition, child care expenses and transportation costs you will need to make it happen. The costs and time it will take may figure into your request for spousal maintenance.
Because there are a number of marital assets that may be subject to division in a divorce, it is good time to consider what assets are really important to you, ones that you hope to keep after the marriage. Again, consider the expense of keeping certain assets, including the tax treatment of certain assets such as a home or retirement accounts entails.
If you have children, what kind of parenting time arrangement will you seek and how much child support can you expect? Shared parenting time is typically in a child’s best interests but sometimes one parent simply plays a more active role in rearing the children which may also mean they spend more time with the kids, spending more on the kids than an lesser involved spouse. It is helpful to know what you can expect in child support and how you will handle miscellaneous expenses as part of planning your post-divorce budget.
When you have questions regarding financial planning for your divorce, spousal support, Illinois property division, parenting time, child support or post divorce modification, call the Libertyville Family Law Office of Ronald L Bell & Associates for assistance at 847-495-6000.