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Practicing Family Law Since 1988


Balancing the Budget After Divorce

Divorcing couples in Illinois face many major life changes when they decide to end a marriage. The disruption of such an important relationship causes the need for important choices regarding child custody, division of marital assets and how to best create a new lifestyle that works for both parties.

One of the most significant impacts of divorce is caused by the changes in financial standing for both spouses. In order to maintain a semblance of the lifestyle that was enjoyed before the divorce, individuals should work to uphold a balanced budget that takes into consideration the many new expenses that are often faced after a divorce.

Lower expectations

Dividing an income in two can have a big affect on both spouses. When both are used to a certain standard of living, it can be difficult to change expectations. The parent who has child custody often faces difficult decisions about cutting back on expenses for his or her children. Most parents do not want their children to suffer for the divorce of their parents’, preferring to continue paying for the same things as before, despite a limited income. Divorced couples should remember that because their finances will not be the same as they were before the divorce that their lifestyle expectations will have to be lowered, even in regard to the kids.

Pay for responsibilities

When creating a new budget after a divorce, it is essential that spouses consider the legal responsibilities that they have. If a spouse is required by the court to pay child support, that financial responsibility should be part of his or her budget. Neglecting to pay child support can have serious legal ramifications in Illinois, including being held in contempt of court or having a driver’s license suspended.

Stay in the loop

Some couples prefer to have as little contact as possible following a divorce, but it is often financially beneficial to maintain a working relationship, if possible. Over the course of a marriage, many spouses build up debt through the purchase of vehicles, homes and other big-ticket items. When a spouse chooses to ignore debt, it can ruin the credit of the other party. It is important to take accountability and build debts into a post-divorce budget in order to avoid creating credit problems for both spouses.

From the addition of spousal support to divided mortgage payments, many budget items change after a divorce. By becoming more flexible and altering lifestyle expectations, divorcing couples are better able to get used to their new lives and financial needs.


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