Divorce is not easy. The right time for divorce is a difficult thing to decide on. However, there are times in a marriage when both family and financial considerations make that choice easier.
Couples without children who choose to divorce have fewer complications than couples with minor children. Younger children involve more immediate care issues, while older children often cause the divorcing parents to think about their future. Childless couples can choose to divorce when one or both parties in the marriage believe the situation has deteriorated beyond repair. However, the financial ramifications of divorce can negatively impact on both parties of the childless marriage.
Mortgage debt, credit card debt, business debt and other short and long term debts must be addressed regardless of minor children. Renegotiating, consolidating and refinancing are all part of dividing marital assets. Credit card debt can be paid off or consolidated when addressing mortgage equity, thereby reducing each partner’s monthly expenditure upon separation.
Parents should be mindful of school schedules, vacation plans and summer activities when planning when to tell the children. Kids usually deal best with divorce when their normal activities have as little interruption as possible. Most parents do not plan their divorce months in advance. However, the parents that can remain civil, decent and thoughtful of their children will have the greatest success in raising their children as a team.
Planning to divorce should include taking a hard serious look at not only how it will affect the children emotionally but also how it will affect them financially. Children need to be reassured their current lifestyle will change as little as possible. It is the parents responsibility to plan for expenses relating not only to the children but also to each new household. Vehicles, insurance and extracurricular activities should all be taken into consideration.
Whenever possible, parents should plan for the primary custodial parent to remain in the family home. Any disruption to school life should be at a minimum. Providing a sense of normal life and stability for minor children will ease the tension naturally created by the impending divorce.
Planning for expenses such as private schooling, music lessons, sporting activities and camps should be on the top of the financial planning list for separating parents. Whenever possible these activities should go on for the children, uninterrupted.
Parents should also consider scheduling and co-parenting options. Parents of younger children may now need to consider childcare and school transportation issues where there was little to be concerned about before.
Parents of older children will need to address curfews, allowances and dating rules. More often than not, divorced parents become more lax in their previous household rules when going through a separation or divorce. Maintaining the same rules and standards in both households is just as vital as providing safe housing and food. A child regardless of age who has two sets of rules to live by will become stressed and often fail to live up to their potential.
By establishing a set of rules based on current foundations of the family and by both parents enforcing those rules equally the child understands on a sub-conscious level the divorce is not about them. Maintaining normal activities reinforces those beliefs.
Take the time to do some financial planning. Consolidating debit and credit cards will enable parents to remain financially stable and emotionally secure to support their children, so review the options for financial choices and consolidation.