Written by Anza Goodbar (last updated November 22, 2011)
When going through a divorce, emotions can play a huge part in how we process information and make decisions. It is important to stay grounded and look at the long term financial picture. Certain lifestyle changes are inevitable, be proactive and keep a positive attitude.
Consider mediation if you and your soon to be ex-spouse cannot come to an agreement on property settlement or a child rearing plan. Court battles can be costly and just add unneeded stress to the process. If at all possible try to look at the big picture and what will be best for you individually keeping the kids' needs at the forefront of each decision.
There is no way to avoid lifestyle changes. Try to pay off as much debt as possible prior to the divorce. Create a monthly budget to live by and stick to it. If possible, do not relay on credit cards for survival, this will cost you thousands of dollars in the long run. Most single moms say their expenses increase by 20% after a divorce. Depending on how long you've been married, you may be awarded spousal support. Use the money wisely to keep afloat in case you have to go through the courts to get payment.
Close out all credit card accounts with a zero balance. Begin to open up accounts in your name. It will become increasingly more important for you to build a credit history in your name, especially if you have not used credit in the past.
Do not depend on your soon to be ex-spouse to help you make financial decisions. Be proactive and go through all of the financial records of your marriage so you are educated on the amount of debt that needs to be divided as well as any retirement account or investments.
Do not settle for just taking the house and no other financial assets. Keep in mind you will also need some sort of liquid asset to build your new life. Consider the cost of keeping the house only if you can truly afford it.
Once your divorce is final, be sure to change your beneficiaries. You may want to choose a sibling if your children will not be of legal age to handle matters should a tragedy occur.
Be careful not to let emotions rule your decisions. Use friends, family and divorce experts for advice, but in the end the decision all rest on your shoulders. Look at all of the facts and make the decision that is best for you. Be proactive and plan for your future flying solo.
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