Divorce more often than not means the division of finances. Whether it’s bank accounts and retirement funds being divided or merely no longer having a second income to rely on, divorce brings about significant financial change. Establishing a solid financial foundation post-divorce can help you regain control of your finances and keep you from sinking into debt. This week, we’ll discuss some essential steps to consider regarding your finances once your divorce is all said and done.

Take Stock of Your Assets and Liabilities

The first step in post-divorce financial planning is to assess your current financial situation. Make a comprehensive list of your assets, including bank accounts, retirement accounts, real estate, investments, and personal property. Similarly, identify any outstanding debts or liabilities, such as mortgages, credit card debt, and loans. Understanding your financial picture will enable you to make informed decisions about your next steps.

Create a Budget

After taking stock, develop a realistic budget that reflects your post-divorce income and expenses. Essentials expenses like housing, utilities, groceries, transportation, healthcare, and child-related costs need to come first. You should then consider savings, retirement, and potential investments. Whatever is left goes to expendables. It doesn’t matter if you were married for 50 years or 5 months. You now have a new financial reality and will need to prioritize your spending to reflect what is now likely a smaller budget.

Set Financial Goals

Take the time to establish short-term and long-term financial goals based on your priorities and aspirations. Whether it’s building an emergency fund, saving for your children’s education, or planning for retirement, having clear financial objectives can guide your decision-making and motivate you to stay on track. Break down your goals into manageable steps and monitor your progress regularly.

Review and Update Your Estate Plan

You will likely need to update your estate plan to reflect your new circumstances and wishes. Odds are, you probably don’t want to leave all or a majority of your estate to your now ex-spouse. Review your will, trust documents, and beneficiary designations to ensure they align with your current preferences. You also may need to update your healthcare directives and powers of attorney to designate new decision-makers in case of incapacitation.

Seek Professional Guidance

You may also want to consider consulting with a certified public accountant (CPA), financial advisor, or a certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA). Having a professional who can provide personalized guidance and expertise can help you develop a tailored financial plan that aligns with your goals and maximizes your financial well-being.