Creating Your Post-Divorce Budget

May 8, 2024

An uncontested divorce may be less fraught with conflict than a contested one, but that doesn’t mean it’s financially simple. As you disentangle your shared life, creating your post-divorce budget is a critical step to take before your divorce. It ensures a stable transition into this new chapter. It’s best to approach this process proactively – even before hiring an attorney – so you have a solid foundation for understanding your individual income, expenses, and the potential costs associated with the divorce process.


Why Creating your Post-Divorce Budget is Essential

  • Clarity and Empowerment: A post-divorce budget isn’t about restriction, but about gaining a clear picture of your new financial reality. This can help you make informed financial decisions, both during and after the divorce.


  • Identifying Potential Challenges: Mapping out your anticipated income and expenses can highlight areas where you might face financial difficulty, allowing you to proactively seek solutions to minimize stress.


  • Negotiating with Confidence: Understanding your individual financial needs is essential when negotiating an uncontested divorce settlement. A budget acts as an anchor, preventing hasty agreements that leave you financially vulnerable.


Key Components for Creating Your Post-Divorce Budget


Housing: The Big Expense
  • Renting: If your current home is unaffordable solo, start researching apartments or houses within your price range. Factor in not only rent, but also utilities, renter’s insurance, and potential moving costs.


  • Staying Put: If keeping the marital home is possible, calculate the true cost. Include mortgage payments, property taxes, homeowners insurance, maintenance, and any increased utility bills.


Essentials: The Non-Negotiables
  • Food: Estimate your monthly grocery costs and dining out expenses.


  • Transportation: Calculate car payments, gas, insurance, and maintenance costs. If you rely on public transportation, factor in those expenses.



  • Childcare: If you have children, childcare costs will be a significant line item in your budget.


Debt Management


List all debts, both those you’ll keep independently and any potentially shared debts that will be divided during the divorce settlement. Plan your strategy for paying down these debts, focusing on higher-interest ones first.


Savings and Goals


While it may seem difficult with increased expenses, set aside even small amounts consistently into a savings account for emergencies and future goals.

Unexpected Costs


Life has a way of throwing curveballs, so try to allocate a small portion of your income for unexpected expenses.

The Cost of Legal Representation


Even with an uncontested divorce, attorney fees will be a factor. Research the average cost of divorce lawyers in St. Clair County, Illinois, and factor this into your budget. Ask potential attorneys upfront how their fees are structured (hourly rate, flat fee, etc.). You’ll find my prices are transparent and reasonable.

Budgeting Resources and Tips

  • Online Tools: Numerous online budgeting tools and apps (like Mint or Everydollar) help streamline this process.


  • Spreadsheet Simplicity: If you prefer a DIY approach, a simple spreadsheet can be equally effective for tracking income and expenses.


  • Be Realistic: Avoid overly optimistic assumptions about income or downplaying expenses. A realistic budget is far more helpful than one based on best-case scenarios.


  • Adjust as Needed: Your budget is not set in stone. Review it periodically and adjust it as your circumstances change.


  • Remember: Budgeting may seem daunting initially, but it’s a powerful tool for empowerment and financial security during this transition. Proactively addressing your finances builds confidence and sets the stage for a stable future.


If you are ready to start down the path towards your post-divorce life, reach out! I am a call or a click away.


Disclaimer: This blog post provides general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for legal or financial advice from a qualified professional. Seek guidance from a divorce lawyer and/or a financial advisor for personalized recommendations based on your specific circumstances.