Lifestyle changes after divorce can impact financial priorities

Preparing for the unexpected costs of divorce can help mitigate the damage

It is no secret that divorce can be expensive. The breakup of a marriage, after all, is also the breakup of that couple's marital estate. When assessing the costs of divorce, however, people tend to focus on the most obvious issues immediately before them, such as property division and spousal support. While those concerns are certainly important and should not be overlooked, as NBC News recently reported, lifestyle changes after a divorce can end up having a big impact on a person's financial situation. By preparing for these changes beforehand, people going through a divorce will be better positioned to deal with their post-divorce lives.

Different priorities

Depending on how a divorce ultimately turns out, a person's lifestyle could change dramatically. People who have been stay-at-home parents during the course of their marriage will often suddenly have to find employment, which can be particularly difficult if they have been out of the workforce for some years. Studies suggest that the problem is particularly pronounced for those who are newly entering the workforce without a college education.

Furthermore, the issue of who gets custody of a couple's child will inevitably lead to financial issues. Raising a child alone is, unsurprisingly, hardly an easy task. Such newly single parents could soon find that they need to balance the demands of parenting with what may turn out to be inflexible work hours.

Preparing for the challenge

Of course, the best way to react to these potential challenges is not by staying in an unhappy marriage, but by preparing for all possible outcomes. As USA Today recently reported, handling the financial issues raised during the actual divorce can ultimately help mitigate the financial challenges raised after the divorce is finalized. People going through a divorce should handle such money issues with a long-term plan in mind.

The couple's house, for example, tends to trip up many divorcing spouses. People who fight to hold on to the marital home could soon find themselves 'house poor'-meaning they have significant assets in the form of property but lack the income to maintain the home and actually enjoy a comfortable lifestyle. Likewise, holding on to the rental home may sound like a big win until it comes time to sell the property and pay those high capital gains taxes.

Planning ahead

The best way of dealing with these challenges is by talking to somebody who understands the many legal and financial implications raised by divorce. An experienced family law attorney can help anybody currently involved in a divorce understand how to best tackle these issues so that people can begin their post-divorce lives in the most secure and comfortable position possible.