Divorce isn’t an idyllic solution for just opening yourself up to singlehood to date new people. Don’t fall for how television shows glorify divorce. In “Happily Divorced,” Fran Drescher and her ex-husband live together as best friends and give each other dating advice. Talk about pure fiction. Divorce usually leads to hard feelings on both sides, such as resentment and anger. Avoid having unrealistic expectations so you’re not surprised if, or when, matters get tense or even ugly.
Money is a hot issue in divorces. You’re used to being a couple with two incomes. Diplomatically, and without emotion, evaluate your finances and determine the best way to allocate debt and assets. Decide if someone needs alimony (including how much and for how long) and how to handle joint tax obligations.
Now you may need to find creative ways to pinch pennies. Moving to a smaller home or downsizing your car are relevant lifestyle changes. Small changes can make a big difference. For example, according to Bundle.tv, the average affordable television and internet bundle can put an extra $23 a month back in your pocket. Changing your phone plan or actively find deals using sites such as GroupOn, RetailMeNot, Coupons, and SlickDeals take little time and can add up fast. Also, if the court allows it, having a yard sale or selling items on Craigslist can earn you some extra cash while decluttering and detoxing from belongings tied to memories.
Most couples will need help from a professional to mediate that everything is fair and one spouse isn’t getting the short end of the divorce stick when it comes to finances. Hiring a professional mediator can help you work out an equitable solution. You will also want to hire an attorney. Make sure to identify your financial needs, and fight for a settlement that meets those needs so you can survive comfortably on your own.
Divorcing couples may try to continue to live together as a way to save money. Co-habitation will only make a clean break harder, especially if one person is hoping for reconciliation or animosity is prevalent. If neither of you can afford to live independently, resort to a roommate, temporarily live with family until you’re back on your feet financially, or downsize to the cheapest place you can find. It may be tough, but full separation from your spouse is emotionally and mentally healthy.