Helpful advice on how to survive financially after divorce

The real truth about divorce is that one or both of you couldn't really afford it.  It's a rare event for two people to split a marriage into two halves and both of them make it work financially.  Two separate lives cost a great deal more to run than one.

Life after divorce is always going to be difficult unless you are moving on to a new relationship with a better off partner.  For the majority of people it's often a case of making the adjustment from a two income household to a single income household or maybe you are faced with re-entering the workforce after years of being a non working mother.  Big adjustments may have to be made.  Taking advice from a specialist financial adviser is often the best way ahead.

The following five bits of advice tips can help keep you to find a good way forward in these difficult times.  There is no magic that will get you through the uncertainties and into a more stable and less stressful but being realistic and optimistic will be a good place to start.

Create a budgetBudget photograph in Downing Street London
This is so simple it's incredibly difficult.  Everyone knows what a budget is.  You just make a list of your monthly income and then list all the things you need to spend money on.  Simple.  Don't forget to include the things that only occur annually or bi-annually (like self employed income tax, road tax and insurance).

If your incomings are less than your outgoings then that's a big problem.  The great advantage is that at least you now know this and have a measure of the size of the problem.  There are two common reactions to this revelation that are both dangerous and useless.

1. Apply to your local friendly bank or credit card company for a loan.  2. Panic, pretend the problem does not exist and do nothing.  The only rational and sensible response is to sit down calmly and see if you can do anything to increase the income or decrease the spending.

Retail therapy is a phrase coined by shops for you to spend more money and for them to make more profit
This is a place you don't want to go.  It's very tempting to buy yourself a present to commemorate the conclusion of your divorce.  Splurging on really expensive stuff, like men buying a rejuvenating Harley Davidson or women going for the complete cosmetic make over is not good.  However a modest mountain bike or a new set of very expensive underwear will probably be highly beneficial and well worth the expense.

Do not take on more debt and check out any state benefits
Most of you will have some debt left over from the marriage.  Dividing the debts of a marriage are at least as hard fought as dividing the assets.  The key is to not dig the hole you are in any deeper.  If you can get the credit card balances down.  Do it slowly and give yourself the satisfaction of owing slightly less each month to those lovely people at Barclaycard.

There are a number of state benefits available and it a very good idea to check out what is available.  You may feel a bit reluctant to do this.  Don't be it's there to help you and you may be entitled to receive it.  The forms can be a bit daunting but it's worth persevering. 

Keeping or not keeping the house
If your mortgage/rent was just about OK on your combined marital income, now that you are the sole provider it will probably blow a big hole in your newly created budget.  That's a really common situation for the newly divorced to be in.  If that's the case then you just have to let it go.  Often neither spouse will want the house because of the memories associated with it.  That's easy, sell it fast.

Also it's often the case that one spouse will want to keep it for the sake of the kids, to provide much needed continuity in their lives.  If you want to do that and you can really afford it then it's a great idea, so do it.

Get ready for the better times ahead
Like so many things that are simple to explain getting your life after divorce finances in order is very difficult to achieve.  The benefits from getting stuff sorted are that it will reduce your stress levels and make the task of rebalancing your life easier and more satisfying.  Who knows quite soon you could be meeting a new partner at one of the best dating sites on the internet!

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