How to prevent divorce from wrecking havoc on one's finances

This article looks at how to prepare for the financial realities of being single after a divorce.

Divorce can be difficult and frightening for many reasons. The breakdown of a marriage, for one, exacts an emotional toll on almost everyone involved. What many people tend to overlook is that divorce is also the end of a financial relationship, with spouses having to divide property before they can truly move on with their lives. Untangling that financial relationship can cause havoc for some people; however, there are ways to ensure that one can survive a divorce and still be in relatively sound financial shape. Below is a look at how to prevent divorce from causing undue financial hardship.

Protecting one's credit rating

As MarketWatch points out, one of the first things anybody who is going through a divorce should do is get a credit report. Financial accounts tend to get mingled during a marriage and during a divorce those accounts will have to be untangled. A credit report can reveal joint accounts, for example, which should either be closed or the other spouse removed from them. If the other spouse fails to make payments on a joint account then the other spouse's credit rating may be adversely affected.

Furthermore, a credit report can reveal whether the other spouse ever opened an account in his or her spouse's name. This information can come as a surprise to many people going through a divorce. Obviously, it is important to get one's name removed from such accounts in order to prevent them from harming one's credit rating.

Preparing for being single

Another surprise that people going through a divorce often encounter is just how much it costs to live alone. As CNBC notes, in many cases people simply assume that their expenses will be cut in half after they divorce. While expenses may decrease significantly, especially if people downsize from their marital home to something smaller, they will rarely be cut in half.

Rather, people should expect expenses to go down by about roughly 30 percent. Of course, since those same people will also be supporting themselves on a single income, that 30 percent decrease may not actually represent a more manageable lifestyle. Anybody going through a divorce needs to budget for life going forward, especially those who may have gone through marriage allowing the other spouse to take care of financial matters. The expenses associated with maintaining a home, car, and other necessities can come as a surprise for those who are not used to dealing with them.

Family law

Preparing for the future is the best way to prevent a divorce from leading to financial hardship. A family law attorney can also assist those going through a divorce in a number of ways. Having an attorney allows one to negotiate a divorce settlement from a stronger position, for example. By having a settlement that is in one's best interests then post-divorce life will usually be much easier to manage.