Divorce & Restoring Your Credit

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Your lifestyle will almost certainly change when one household becomes two. You'll need a new budget -- and a realistic look at what you can afford for the next few years.

You survived the divorce. Now comes the hard part: getting your new single life on track, especially when it comes to money.

In many cases, the ex-wife has a larger amount of post-divorce financial work to do.

True, some women make more money than their husbands, but they are generally exceptions. And true, the ex-husband usually contributes to two households, his new single one as well as the one maintained by his ex-wife, who typically is the custodial parent of their children.

Your 5-minute guide to sudden singlehood

But the harsh reality of divorce is that the lower wage earner usually suffers the most financially. And that lower wage earner usually is the woman, who may have left the work force, at least temporarily, to care for children.

Even then, however, it's possible to get your post-divorce finances in order and ultimately prosper. The following tips and strategies should help. And much of the advice applies regardless of gender.
Get involved
It's the 21st century, but family finances aren't equal for many reasons.

Carol Arnott, a divorce financial analyst with Greenville Financial Group in Greenville, Del., cites a recent survey of married couples that found the men more likely to be in charge of investments, insurance and retirement planning. The women, meanwhile, focused on day-to-day budgeting and bill paying.

Talk back: How has divorce affected your finances?

In short, the men were more strategic when it came to money and more comfortable making decisions regarding their financial futures. So it's no surprise that most of Arnott's clients are women. And she's not shy about encouraging them to get involved with their finances and seek professional help "prior to filing or as soon as they're served with papers."

The first step in mastering your money is understanding it. To do that, you need to look completely and carefully at where you stand.

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