When fathers go through a divorce or custody battle, they often end up having to pay child support, alimony, or both. This is often on top of the fact that their income is decreasing because they are no longer married and don’t have their spouse’s income to complement their own. Thinking about how you will balance your finances moving forward can be difficult, but without proper planning now, you’ll be struggling with money for years to come.
Present an Accurate Picture to the Courts
One of the most important things you can do when entering into a divorce or custody battle is to ensure you present the courts with an accurate picture of your expenses. The courts do try to be fair when ordering support, so if you can show that your budget is tight based on your income and unchangeable expenses, you may end up having to pay less.
Seek a Fair Custody Arrangement
If you have children, make sure you seek a fair custody arrangement where you have as much parenting time as possible. Not only has it been shown to be best for the kids when they spend a significant amount of time with each parent, but child support payments are reduced (or possibly even eliminated) when you have your children about half the time.
Look to Cut Expenses
For most men, it is going to be necessary to start looking to cut out unnecessary expenses in order to make ends meet comfortably. If you start off by eliminating as many non-essentials as possible from your budget now (e.g. cable, Netflix, vacations, etc.), you will be in a better financial position once the alimony or child support payments kick in. Once you’re used to your new budget, you can begin adding in ‘luxuries’ as you determine that you can afford them.
Pick Up an Extra Job
Many fathers find that after a divorce, they have a lot of free time on their hands. Time you would have normally spent doing family things are now left open (at least on days when you don’t have your child). Getting a part-time job to supplement your income will not only help your budget, but can also help to keep you busy so you’re not focusing on the fact that you’re not seeing your children as much as before. There are many great side jobs available, and you can easily add hundreds, or even thousands of dollars to your annual income.
If you have any questions about how to begin the process of adjusting to life after being ordered to pay alimony or child support or both, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We can provide you with the legal advice you need to successfully get through this difficult time.