Your post-divorce situation
During marriage, spouses’ finances are often entangled. Following divorce, however, one income is paying the expenses previously financed by two spouses.
Spouses may have kept separate accounts while they were married. If they had any joint accounts, each spouse should create their own financial presence after their marriage ends. Open your own checking, savings, and credit accounts to accomplish this.
Budgets usually require changes to identify your options and give you more control over your new financial situation. Household income may be reduced, or it may it need adjustment for the payment or receipt of spousal or child support. Each spouse may have to pay their own housing, utilities, or other costs.
Because your savings can be depleted after divorce, you should consider establishing an accessible source of funds for unexpected changes in incomes and expenses. A spouse who is not retired should think about having emergency savings for six months of expenses. But having an emergency fund with smaller amounts can also increase financial security.
Typically, spouses need to change their beneficiary designations on retirement accounts and life insurance policies to assure that these assets do not go to unintended recipients. These designations may override the directions in your will so they should be periodically reviewed.
Divorce changes your earlier retirement planning where you anticipated sharing assets and expenses with your spouse. After divorce, you may be individually responsible for your retirement.
If possible, change your retirement plan and increase contributions. Speak to a financial professional about your new options after divorce.
Divorce may also impact your Social Security benefits. Once you are eligible for benefits you may be able to receive up to 50 percent of your former spouse’s benefits, offset by your benefit, if you were married for at least 10 years and did not remarry.
You could also receive 100 percent of your ex-spouse’s benefit, in place of your benefits, after their death and you did not remarry or remarried after you reached 60-years-old. This is helpful if your former spouse had a higher income or worked longer.
Attorney may provide you with options on addressing your finances. They can also help you seek a fair and reasonable divorce settlement or decree.