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Control the person in your mirror and you can control your finances after a divorce

There is no way of avoiding a simple truth about divorce: it is not fun. You may have a sense of satisfaction when your divorce is finished, but you will not feel anything close to enjoyment as a result of the process. After all, you are separating yourself from the person you believed to be your life partner at one time. Now you are faced with the prospect of making improvements in your own life to best ensure your success moving forward. Change is hard. Divorce is hard. There seems to be some degree of correlation here…

For starters, consider that it is now easier than ever to take control of your financial fortunes to put yourself in a position to win. On the other hand, it is now easier than ever to find yourself tempted by pretty, shiny distractions that can limit your time spent making worthwhile changes to your habits and lifestyle choices.

The math of your new life is not that complicated.

Personal finance is more about your behavior than knowledge regarding spending, savings, or anything having to do with our economy as a whole. As the title to today’s blog post would indicate, you can control your finances if you can control the person staring back at you when you look in the mirror. That is easier said than done, however. If we could control our spending and eating habits, we would all be rich and thin.

That self-control and fiscal restraint will be pushed now that you are a divorced person. Gone are the days when your household had two incomes contributing to it. Now you find yourself as a single person with the possibility of additional outputs like child support and spousal maintenance. Your unfamiliarity with a budget is not an excuse for messing up payments or failing to make them altogether. It would help if you learned quickly how to budget your money and spend accordingly.

In the past, your earning capacity may have been able to compensate for problems associated with your overspending. If you busted a hole in your family’s metaphorical financial wall, all you had to do was plaster over it with some extra money made while driving for a rideshare company or something similar. Now you find yourself with less wiggle room, and the only way to make up that difference is to change your habits.

Budget to make the math work

Once you have figured out your expenditures each month, it is a good idea to lay out what money comes into your home each month and how much will need to be allocated for each of your financial obligations. This is part of keeping accurate records of your bills and when each needs to be paid. Suppose an organization is not a trait you possessed during your marriage life. In that case, there is no better time to develop your organizational skills than during the period immediately after your divorce.

Creating a budget that will work for you now and into the future

Even if you are still in the middle of your divorce, it is worthwhile to create a budget. If you can get a firm grasp of what your future expenses and income look like, you are in the driver’s seat in terms of your ability to negotiate from a firm position as far as your finances go. While your spouse may only be guessing at what they “need” in a post-divorce life, you can be in a position where you are more or less sure about what your needs are.

A judge could also use your estimates to understand better the likely financial situation you will find yourself in after a divorce. Child support and spousal maintenance depend on your income, so keep that in mind. Compare your income and outgoes during your divorce and in the period afterward. Doing so can help you pinpoint precisely where you need to change your spending habits.

You can be as detailed as you wish when it comes to creating your budget, but the more detailed you make it, the better prepared you will be. The world of technology offers many a website and app for your phone that can track expenses and income to help you set up your budget quickly.

Spousal maintenance as part of your monthly budget

Texas recognizes spousal maintenance as payments made in a set amount over a set duration of time after a divorce concludes. Similar payments can be made during a divorce in Texas, but those payments are known as temporary spousal support. These temporary payments typically are used to ensure that you as a spouse can care for your minimal basic needs.

Spousal maintenance can be ordered as long as you and your spouse have been married for at least ten years. The longer you were married, the more extended spousal maintenance can be ordered. Your budget can contradict estimates of future costs presented by your spouse and can allow a judge to allocate future costs more evenly. Suppose you earn significantly less than your spouse and lack an education that could compensate for that discrepancy in pay. In that case, you may increase your chances of being awarded spousal maintenance.

What to do about health insurance after your divorce?

Another critical component in your budget will be health insurance. Your spouse’s health insurance plan may have previously covered you through their provider. While your temporary orders may have barred your spouse from removing you from the policy during your divorce, that is probably not the case after your divorce has concluded. As far as your children are concerned, you and your ex-spouse will need to make sure that health insurance coverage continues to be made available to them.

Auto insurance

From a dollars and cents perspective, it could be logical for you to continue having your spouse and remain on the same auto insurance. To do this prudently, contact your auto insurance provider to let them know that you are divorcing your spouse and need to make changes regarding the policy.

Taxes- beginning the discussion on everybody’s least favorite subject.

Nobody likes to pay taxes. Nobody likes to talk about paying taxes. Your filing status may have changed due to your having divorced your spouse. If you are now receiving spousal maintenance and child support as a result of your divorce, you will need to take these items and note them as income in the case of spousal maintenance and as a non-taxable item in the case of spousal maintenance.

As far as claiming a child as a dependent on your taxes, you can no longer alternate years of doing so with your child. You must be the custodial parent to your child to do so. If your child is under the age of thirteen, you can take tax credits for providing the child with care while you work and other expenses as well. Finally, if you are in a position where you are paying for your child’s medical expenses, then you can deduct these costs even if you are not your child’s custodial parent.

Questions about any of the subject matter we discussed today? Please get in touch with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC.

Suppose you have any questions regarding the material that we covered today, I recommend that you contact the attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC. We represent clients across southeast Texas and would be honored to do the same for you and your family.

Please get in touch with us today to schedule a free-of-charge consultation with one of our licensed family law attorneys. We offer consultations six days a week to address your questions and concerns directly and in a comfortable environment.

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