You wake up in the morning, get ready, get into your car, drive to work, work at your job, come home, and repeat the cycle the following day. While it may not seem glamorous, it does reflect the lives of many Americans.
Having that job allows you to have a certain standard of living that you adhere to, and the more jobs within the household, contributing to the standard of living, the higher the potential of the standard of living.
When you get a divorce, one of the sources of income from your household disappears, forcing you to reassess many aspects of your life and attempt to make adjustments, in order to avoid poverty or bankruptcy.
Breaking down the numbers
From a numbers perspective, men can face the standard of living loss between 10 and 40 percent, according to research from Utah State University. Their loss can be statistically more substantial than the woman’s loss, due to the prevalence of men paying alimony and child support, as well as the level of income they typically contribute to the marital household, according to research.
You and your divorcing spouse also would need, on average, more than a 30-percent increase in your income or your ex-spouse’s to maintain the same standard of living you had prior to your divorce, according to financial advisors at The Balance.
For some, that is feasible. The standard of living that some marital couples enjoy is rather high. In these specific circumstances, the marital standard of living can cause the alimony and child support payments to skyrocket, allowing the spouse receiving the payments to enjoy the same level of financial comfort that they previously enjoyed during the course of their marriage.
For you, that may not be the case. You may have to modify your alimony or child support obligations, in order to reduce the amount of money that exits your account per month. This will help you avoid the financial pitfalls that alimony and child support payments can create. However, this will require the aid of your family law attorney, who understands the situation and is ready to represent your interests.
Even with modified alimony or child support obligations, it may not be enough, and you may have to look at your standard of living, in order to see if there are any cuts you can make.
You may have to move to a new location, which can be difficult. Your current home may be close to your job, or you may find yourself emotionally attached to where you live. Unfortunately, you may have to set both of those sentiments aside, in favor of the reality of your current financial predicament.
You also may have to make downgrades on the car that you drive. If you have children, any car that you acquire still needs to be able to seat them comfortably and have the necessary safety features. With a new car, it may help your bank account to have a car with lower payments on it.
Even with these cuts, there may be other types of changes you may have to make, in order to avoid financial ruin. You may need to cut back on the amount of fast food you purchase and budget your groceries.
You also may have to change the way you think about saving money. As much as you may want to think of the passage of time as linear, it may be more beneficial for you to think of time cyclically. Once you consider the passage of time to be similar to that of seasons, featuring large and small events, your ability to save should increase, according to studies.
This can be beneficial after a divorce. Knowing how much you may have to pay for your living expenses, plus alimony and child support, during a given year will allow you to flex how much or how little you are able to put into savings or retirement.
Communication and cutting costs
It also can help to communicate your concerns with your ex-spouse or co-parent. Even though the raw emotions and the difficult history that exists between you two may have guided the decision to pursue a divorce, there still may be a chance that they are able to hold a civil and understanding conversation with you, regarding finances. They may not wish your financial problems to affect their life, or they may genuinely want more for you in a post-divorce life than poverty and financial destruction.
With all of the fluctuation that divorce can create in your life and with your standard of living, it is vital that you continue to find unique ways to cut costs and attempt to save. As difficult as it may be at times, it is too beneficial in the long-run not to try.
Dan Pearce is an Online Editor for Lexicon, focusing on subjects related to the legal services of customers, Cordell & Cordell and Cordell Planning Partners. He has written countless pieces on MensDivorce.com, detailing the plight of men and fathers going through the divorce experience, as well as the issues seniors and their families experience throughout the estate planning journey on ElderCareLaw.com. Mr. Pearce has managed websites and helped create content, such as the Men’s Divorce Newsletter and the YouTube series, “Men’s Divorce Countdown.” He also has been a contributor on both the Men’s Divorce Podcast and ElderTalk with TuckerAllen.
Mr. Pearce assisted in fostering a Cordell Planning Partners practice area specific for Veterans, as they deal with the intricacies of their benefits while planning for the future. He also helped create the Cordell Planning Partners Resource Guide and the Cordell Planning Partners Guide to Alternative Residence Options, specific for seniors with questions regarding their needs and living arrangements.