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Prepare Yourself

Prepare Yourself for Divorce by Knowing Your Budget and Your Home’s Equity
By Randy Morrow, Certified Real Estate Divorce Specialist

You have filed for divorce and told your attorney “I want everything I can get from her/him.” Really? Do you think it is that easy?

What happens to you if ‘everything’ isn’t enough? How are you going to live? Do you have a job that pays enough to support you and/or the kids? Do you even have a job? Have you given any of this the least bit of thought? Tough questions, but questions you must answer.

My suggestion:  Sit down and start making a list of absolutes. Absolutes are monthly expenses absolutely necessary to survive, with no frills. I suggest having a trusted friend or professional help you make this list. (Remember, you probably aren’t thinking as clearly as you would like to right now.)

  • Rent or House Payment
  • Taxes (if your home is paid for there are still taxes to pay monthly)
  • House maintenance
  • Car payment
  • Car insurance
  • Car maintenance
  • Fuel
  • Health insurance
  • Child care
  • Groceries
  • Laundry
  • Electric bill
  • Phone bill
  • Gas bill
  • Credit cards
  • Life insurance
  • Miscellaneous.  (I don’t like this word, but the fact is that unexpected expenses are going to arise every single month.  Plan for them.)

You can easily see some tough items here.  Perhaps there are costs listed you do not have, or important items I have left off. I have tried to keep this very basic to most people’s lives.

I am a realtor who specializes in divorce, so I naturally think about the home if there is one to sell.  If there is equity in the home, you may be able to retire the credit card debt, prepay the insurance premiums for a while until you are established, live off the proceeds long enough to find a job and start producing an income, go to school to update your skills, et cetera.

If you are someone who has no home equity nor substantial savings, these costs do not go away.

My advice to you? Plan BEFORE you file for divorce. Plan with someone who is not emotionally involved in your divorce, like a Certified Real Estate Divorce Specialist, for instance.

To contact Randy Morrow, call (703) 629-1733 or email him at

Pssst: Stay tuned for Part 4 of Randy’s interview with Ron and Robert on Divorce, coming this week. Subscribe to our free podcasts on iTunes.

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