Karen Ann Ulmer, P.C.
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Post Divorce Finances - Wrapping Up, Moving Forward

After your divorce you will have a new life to build. This may include finding a new place to live, transition your children to their new lives between homes, and becoming accustomed to your new home. While your emotions may be running high and you are excited about your future you need to be vigilant in establishing your own credit and gaining financial strength.

1) Know your credit score. Checking your credit score will give you a benchmark of your current financial state of affairs. Your numerical score will show you if you have work to do to increase your attractiveness to lenders. As you go out and apply for credit - a car loan, mortgage or even find an apartment to lease your credit score will be checked. Poor credit can significantly limit your ability to borrow money. In addition to knowing your credit score your credit report will also display accounts are open in your name as well as any derogatory information that might not belong to you so you can work on repairing it.

2) Close joint accounts.

You and your spouse probably had many joint accounts open such as checking and savings, investments and even debt (credit cards and lines of credit). Dividing these accounts will be handled during the divorce process but it is important to make sure that they are closed. If they are left open both parties have the ability to still use them and accrue debt in your name, which could be problematic for your credit.

3)  Open your own credit

You will need to establish your own credit as soon as possible. This can be as simple as low-limit credit card. Charge items and services to this account and make payments every single month. This should have a positive impact on your credit and demonstrate your ability to pay your bills.

4) Create a budget and stick to it

Living on one income can be difficult so it will be important to know how much you are spending. Establishing a budget will help you track your expenses and ensure you do not go over budget. Have a plan to pay down debt, put a bit of money into an emergency savings account and also some money for entertainment if you can afford it. Being responsible now will lead to great rewards for you in the future.

5) Pay down debt
While you may want to put money away into your savings account it is wise to pay down your debt as quickly as possible. There are many options to do this and you can find a plan that is right for you. Try to send in a little more than your monthly payments each month and also cover the cost of interest charges.

Stepping out on your own financially can be an overwhelming experience. We help you set-up your financial future and as you step into the preparation it is important to move wisely to protect yourself. Put professionals around you for guidance and always keep your eye on establishing security for yourself. Most importantly, make wise and prudent decisions to build yourself the security that you need.

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