How To: Create the Perfect Solo Budget Post Divorce

Blog | November 1st, 2021

The end of a marriage is a hard adjustment in and above itself. You may have begun your life together as a young couple building everything from the ground up with no thought of it ever being any other way. Suddenly you find yourself starting over again, but this time, you’re flying alone.

You’ve gone from multiple streams of income and budgeting together to the total opposite with changes that you have never encountered. Managing this new life can be scary, stressful and devastating. But you will find your way, you’ll feel a new strength and be fully accomplished when you do! As you navigate the next chapter in your life here are some tips to get you back on your feet, within a budget and in control!

Where to Start

If you are here, you have obviously begun or completed a divorce or know someone who has. When the legal dust settles, it’s time to take care of business. Different states have different rules, but often you can have your name changed for free during the divorce settlement. Afterward, it can cost hundreds for this seemingly simple act. Be sure to make that decision before you sign on the dotted line and keep those extra dollars in your bank account!

Last Names Aren’t the Only Changes

Whether you leave your married name behind or not, both husband and wife have some name changing to take care of. Budgeting is going to get tighter and you do not want to be responsible for debts incurred by your ex. With a fine-tooth comb, go through everything you owned together or separately. Be sure your name is on your possessions and property with your ex-spouse’s name on theirs. You don’t want to get caught having to pay for that boat they had to have or the credit card balance they ran up. Don’t forget to change names on bank accounts as well. You’re going to need what is rightfully yours to support your new single life.

Keep an Eye on Your Credit

Check your credit score often. If you see a sudden decline, get on that right away! Be sure your ex isn’t making purchases with your name connected to anything. Mistakes happen and even if it’s not intentional, you could still be tied to credit transactions that could drastically affect your financial future.

Get Tax Time Ready

A lot can change after divorce, from no longer filing your taxes jointly to suddenly being on your own in other areas. Talk to an experienced, licensed tax accountant to legally claim all you can on your tax return. If kids are involved, child support is not taxed. However, if you are receiving spousal support, that is a taxable income. It always pays to be prepared!

Related: Budgeting 101: How to Set Your First Budget

Move on To the Budgeting

You may have been on top of all areas of budgeting, or maybe not. Either way, it’s time to make a change. Start with your after-tax income, add up your expenses and determine what you have to work with. Keep things tight at first until you are secure in your spending. Slowly, you can loosen the reins and enjoy your new life. Always be sure to put something in your savings each month, or each week, depending on when you receive your paycheck. An empty savings account is a disaster waiting to happen.

Add and Subtract

Maybe this section should read subtract until you’re in a comfortable enough space to add. Until you adjust, cut your spending wherever you can. Now that it is just you, the single life could allow you to take on a small second job. Even if it’s just temporary, this will help you get your footing and a strong start on your new path. Aside from the money, a new job can be a route to meeting new people and getting your mind off the stresses of divorce.

Budget for YOU

No matter the circumstances, amicable or not, uncontested or a knock-down drag-out, divorce is hard! Emotions that you didn’t know existed could come flooding over you. It can truly take its toll. So among all this budgeting and rearranging, set aside some time, money and self-care that is for and about you. It’s time to heal and rebuild, so be sure you prioritize and invest in your future. You deserve it!