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Will I have to make lifestyle changes after my divorce?

On Behalf of | Feb 20, 2024 | High-Net Worth Divorce

One potential benefit of marriage is the opportunity to improve your financial situation. When both spouses have jobs, they can enjoy a higher standard of living when pooling their resources to maintain a single residence. In a two-income household, it is possible to enjoy a nicer home, more frequent vacations and other comforts.

Even in scenarios where one spouse works and the other stays home or only works part-time, their unpaid contributions to their family likely help increase the family’s overall standard of living. A stay-at-home spouse can provide services that could otherwise cost thousands of dollars per month.

For anyone who is preparing for divorce, it is likely they can expect changes to their standard of living. But how big could the lifestyle changes be?

The financial implications of divorce

A divorce costs money. Even in uncontested filings where spouses agree to terms on their own, the divorce process can cost thousands of dollars.

In addition to paying for the divorce, spouses must divide their assets. The exact way that couples divide those assets can be vastly different from one case to another, but people can expect their net worth to fall during a divorce.

One spouse may have to move into a smaller home and otherwise adjust their lifestyle to reflect the reduction in their personal wealth and household income after a divorce.

What about spousal maintenance?

In scenarios where one spouse stayed home while the other worked, the higher-earning spouse may need to provide ongoing financial support in the form of spousal maintenance. The courts may only consider the minimum reasonable needs of the spouse seeking support when determining how much support is necessary.

Additionally, the income that once went to the maintenance of a single household must now support two households. Therefore, more of an individual’s income may go toward basic cost-of-living expenses, forcing them to scale back on travel and luxuries.

What can be done?

It is possible to minimize the financial impact that divorce inspires. Couples can better control the costs generated by committing to a collaborative or uncontested divorce. Those who try to settle as many details as possible outside of court can both speed up the divorce process and diminish the total costs involved. Understanding how divorce may affect someone’s finances could help them plan for the best future possible.