Once the divorce is finalized, it’s now time to start over with your life. If you haven’t thought about what you might need to get back on your feet again, now is the time to start doing so. The following is a list of some things you should consider as you set out on your own again after divorce:
A) Stay put
As tempting as it might be to “get away for a while,” don’t do so without your children. Dropping the kids off at grandma’s house while you go somewhere on vacation to collect your thoughts will only add to the sense of abandonment kids feel.
B) Start budgeting expenses
We would strongly recommend that parents implement some type of budgeting system following divorce. Many parents who simply bought what they wanted to before the separation and then tallied or sorted it all up later may find that they don’t have the financial wiggle room to do this anymore. Continuing such carefree spending habits gets a lot of newly single parents in trouble. Sit down and figure out what income you have coming in, and then be sure to budget a specific amount of money for each necessity.
C) Update contact information
Don’t forget to update school contact lists or other emergency information for the kids that is kept on file by schools, child care centers, and any other child-oriented organization such as little league or dance studios. You might also have information of your own that needs to be updated, such as employer info, contact information for organizations you’re a member of, any storage lockers or bank deposit boxes you might have, and other such businesses that need to be able to reach you.
D) Update tax information
Depending on your new circumstances, you may have more or less tax liability following the divorce as compared to before. Be sure to update this information by filing a new W-2 form with your employer. It may be that you can have less withheld, which will help you out financially, and you also don’t want to be unpleasantly surprised at the end of the year with an unexpected tax burden should you owe the IRS.
E) Prioritize your needs
Divorce takes a couple’s marital/household assets and splits them in two, which means you’re probably without a number of things you were used to having before. These might be big things such as major appliances, or small things such as tools and blenders. It wouldn’t hurt to sit down and create a list of what items you no longer have access to, which among these are the most important, and how much it would cost to replace each one. Then consider the following:
- What do you absolutely need, and what can you put off purchasing for a while?
- What can you borrow or share? It doesn’t make sense to spend money on something you’ll rarely use. Ask around to neighbors to see what items they might be willing to loan. Most people are glad to help out a single parent who is rebuilding after divorce.
- Find out what items your friends have access to. If money is tight, it doesn’t make sense to purchase new screwdrivers or basic tools that you’ll only use a few times a year. For bigger items you can also utilize online sharing/bartering sites, which arrange to loan out items from others in your area for a small fee.