The unspoken big D - Divorce! Divorce is one of the most damaging events in the lives of individuals and families (and
friends) who go through it - both financially and emotionally.
It is hard to find even minimal basic information available. If one is to endure, an understanding of what to expect is
essential. The tremendous impacts for financial status, emotional issues and children - we just don't talk about
So here are a few thoughts. Your first response will be intensely emotional - be it exhaustion after years of struggle
or shock when your spouse walks out. A friend once referred to divorce as death without a body - a very apt description
regardless if amicable or difficult - the grieving is surprisingly gut-wrenching.
Just as a budget for a wedding and marriage is useful, the end of a marriage benefits from a budget even more so. As
one gets swept up into the rage, the disappointment and the worries, finances do intrude, like it or not. Choices and
decisions having huge financial implications will come at you with intense speed and uniqueness, and you feel
completely unprepared. Decisions are difficult and confusing.
Legal fees: Mediation, collaborative divorce, do-it-yourself or legal council - costs and problems vary. Even for a
do-it-yourself version, be sure to get professional guidance before documents are signed.
Setting up a second household: Expenses for everything from health insurance to taxes to protecting your credit will
change. Will insurance be affordable once you're shouldering rent or mortgage by yourself? Know the costs early on to
perhaps negotiate a settlement that covers insurance premiums or to decide how to afford your needs.
Children: Even with joint custody, you still buy computers, clothes and items for that second residence.
Counseling: Because of the extent of this trauma, you (and your children) may find therapy beneficial. This is not a
place to skimp. Situations surface you have never experienced and may not be equipped to handle. Sometimes having an
impartial person listen makes a world of difference. Some employers provide assistance programs to help.
Credit: When emotionally stressed, it's easy to let things slide and do long-term damage to credit. This is a time when
your credit becomes important. Pay bills on time and stay in communication with creditors. Get your name removed from
jointly held accounts (electricity, mortgage, credit cards, etc.). If your spouse pays late, accidentally or on
purpose, it will hurt your credit immeasurably, impacting your ability to refinance or even apply for a cell phone or
TV when on your own. Cancel jointly held credit cards and transfer any balance that a spouse is responsible for to a
card in his/her name. Once documents are filed, no changes are allowed.
Hired help: Costs for hiring others for everything from yard maintenance to home repair should be part of your budget
Spousal education: If one needs retraining, a few years of alimony or a line item in settlement or negotiations is
Bottom line: Which will haunt you longer - emotional or financial impacts? Know it will change with the moment for a
or 247-4355. Wendy Rice is family and consumer science agent for the La Plata County Extension Office.