Financial Planning for Divorce: A Guide To Everything to Consider

Families may find that is it difficult to make ends meet these days – financial planning for divorce makes it no easier. Inflation is real and the costs of living just keeps rising. Families with children are impacted more than those without. Quality childcare is difficult to find, and it is costly. Children are always in need for new clothes and shoes while they are growing. Food costs are skyrocketing as well. And, financial pressures often are a real difficulty for a struggling couple who is considering divorce. Money problems are cited as the 2nd leading reason for divorce.

Thus, money is a real concern for a couple considering divorce. If a couple is struggling while they are living under one roof, the struggles will continue and increase when the couple starts living under two separate roofs. Every family budget is unique to each family. Discussed below are some things to consider when budgeting while divorcing.


If one spouse is remaining in the martial home, that doesn’t suddenly mean there’s no need for financial planning. That spouse needs to fully appreciate those household expenses, including but not limited to: rent/mortgage payment, utilities (water, power, gas, cable, internet, garbage), homeowner association dues, taxes, insurance and repairs. In the end, selling the home might be the right answer and the only answer. Too often the spouse staying in the home overlooks all the expenses related to upkeep. And, likewise, the other spouse will incur expenses as well when moving into a new home. If renting upon moving out, the relocating spouse may also be looking at a deposit, new utility connection fees, furniture purchases, and household set-up.


During a separation and divorce, the spouses may need to seek separate coverage on car insurance, homeowner’s and/or renter’s coverage. For health insurance, typically a spouse can retain the other spouse on their employment provided insurance until date of divorce. The spouse who will be forced to obtain new coverage will need to budget for that.

Child Support

Parents who are separating need to realize that the party who has less time with the children will likely be paying child support. The good news regarding child support is that the state of North Carolina has a child support calculator that determines a set number. That calculated number will be applied and used, so neither party should be expecting much more or less. Either parent or their attorney can input the needed data (gross wages, overnights, health insurance costs) and the calculator determines the number for most parents, excepting the wealthy. We encourage clients to also address items like: extra-curriculars, vacations, travel, tutoring, birthdays, and gifts. Parents may agree to equally divide those costs or pro-rate and divide those expenses.

Also, don’t overlook childcare or babysitting expenses. One parent may very well be unfamiliar with those costs. Travel expenses can catch parents by surprise as well. The parties may agree that one parent will have visitations on the weekends or during the summers. If one parent relocates to another state or country, travel expenses can become quite extensive.


Probably more myths circulate about spousal support than truths. At times, we have clients who have only been married for a few years, and he or she thinks that they will receive alimony until death. There will not be alimony forever; nor, will it be for thousands and thousands of dollars each month. There will need to be proof of a financially dependent spouse. Each party needs to be realistic and understand what terminates alimony as well.


Both spouses may find that they need some counseling to help get them through a divorce. Finding a good therapist is a challenge, as well as finding the funds to pay those professionals. Also, the children may need counseling as well.

Legal Fees

If you’re already financial planning for divorce, both parties need to understand that they will likely need to pay legal fees. A couple cannot legally share an attorney. Some law firms may offer a free 30-minute consultation; some may charge upwards to $500 for a consultation. Then there is the cost of retaining an attorney. We do encourage everyone to consider how much money can be spent if all matters related to the divorce have to be heard in court. Typically, parties will spend 3 times MORE money if all matters need to be filed in court and litigated. There are also court fees incurred for almost every court filing. If a couple needs mediation, there are the expenses of hiring a mediator. Most mediators charge a mediation fee, and then a charge per hour. If a divorce is involved in extended litigation, it is also possible that a spouse/parent can ask for attorney’s fees. A judge can order the payment of legal fees, typically in a contested matter for child support, child custody and alimony. Legal fees cannot be ordered in an equitable distribution matter.


A couple can still file a joint return if they are still married at year’s end on December 31. Certain tax advantages and deductions will likely be lost upon divorce. Consultation will a tax professional is recommended. Some couples may decide to delay filing for divorce to retain their tax advantages. Hopefully these reminders and tips will help you financially transition through your separation and divorce.

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