Beginning the divorce process is one of the hardest decisions in life.  It comes with much stress, anticipation and uncertainty.  Some of the things that may be going through your mind are about finances, living arrangements and the future.

In this article we will work to help you get a grasp of the uncertainty that comes with filing for a divorce in Michigan and offer tips to ensure a successful transition.

How will I survive financially without my spouse’s income?

The first step is to determine how many expenses that you will have on your own.  Look at your housing expensive (rent and utilities), vehicle, insurance, credit cards and money for living expenses.   It is not wise to include spousal support or child support arrangements until this has been set in stone.  Be prepared to do it on your own.

Next determine what special assistance you may be entitled to.  Look into local, state and federal assistance and changes in your status that will assist you.  For instance locally you may be able to receive a reduction in your Council Tax bill as a single adult household.  State assistance may be given in child care credits and federal assistance in the form of tax credits and programs such as bridge card assistance.

You will want to contact your bank and inform them that a divorce is imminent and open up an account in only your name that you alone have access to.  Make sure that you place money that is yours into an account that cannot be touched by your spouse.  You will need your own funds no matter how confident you are in the beginning that things will be smooth and everyone will agree on divorce settlements things change in the heat of the moment.  The most congenial people can turn bitter fast within divorce proceedings.

Where we I live during the divorce proceedings and after?

Contact a real estate professional immediately if you believe that neither you nor your spouse will be in the market to stay within the marital home.  This enables the home to be put on the market and hopefully sold during the divorce.  From here you will determine what is owed on the home and what the value of the home is.  This will help both parties estimate how much they will be able to afford in a new home as well as how much money they can expect from the sale of the marital home.

If you will be staying in the home you will need to make arrangements to get a mortgage in your own name.  Many times this can be achieved with a property adjustment order.  This allows one spouse to remain in the home, with the children, until a later agreed upon date.  This is achieved with a Financial Consent Order and is a way in which both couples are required to contribute to the homes mortgage payment.

What will I do now? What does the future hold for me?

You will need to determine where your income will come from.  Will you work full-time, part-time and how does this affect child care?  If you are not already in the job market you will want to sharpen your skills with schooling or training right away to ensure that you will be able to support yourself and your family.  You will be relying on a single income make sure you are in a career that can sustain your lifestyle.  It may be time to re-discover a passion that will supplement your income as well.  Often times side hobbies start to turn into an additional source of income when living through a divorce.  Consider selling your paintings, getting into part time photography or even selling up cycled furniture.  Whatever your hobbies are before the divorce can often supplement your income substantially.

Divorce is never easy on anyone.  Being prepared is one way to decrease the amount of anxiety you will feel when making the first steps towards divorce.