Budgeting for the Family

Divorce affects a family in many ways, and one of the biggest changes is the household income. It is important to keep in mind how any financial changes will affect not just the individual, but the family as a whole. It is important to be aware of and understand your individual financial situation when the divorce process begins.

By gathering information and creating and organizing an individual budget, at least some stress may be alleviated from the divorce process. Whether your spouse was handling the household finances or you maintained a budget yourself, it is important to understand the current financial picture and how the divorce may affect how your income and assets are used in the future. Gathering information on cash flow can make the process at least a little bit easier.

There are many ways to budget for the family and for life after divorce using the collaborative law and mediation process. Two of the most common financial issues, Child Support and Alimony Maintenance, are explored further below.

Child Support

Parties often consider the CSSA Guidelines (click here for the Guidelines), but may also deviate from the Guidelines in order to address the needs of the children and the parties. It is important to understand the expenses related to the children, such as clothing, educational expenses, child care, medical insurance, unreimbursed medical expenses, extra-curricular activities, tutoring and any special needs. It is also important to develop a practical plan for payment of child related expenses.

Alimony Maintenance

Spousal maintenance, also sometimes referred to as alimony, is financial support one spouse (the payor) provides to the other spouse (the payee) in order to until the payee becomes self-supporting. There are many creative ways to analyze the cash flow and address the needs of both parties. A common question is what happens if the parties do not reach agreement. In that case, a variety of factors are considered by the court, including but not limited to:

  • The length of the marriage;
  • Whether there are any children;
  • The age and health of the parties;
  • The income and property of each spouse;
  • The payee’s current need;
  • The future earning capacity of the payee;

There are additional factors to be considered. It is also important to think about your priorities in settling your matter. Your attorney can guide you through the process and help you determine your needs and what is important to consider in reaching settlement.

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