Separating and preparing for divorce

My husband and I are separating and headed for divorce.  We’ve been using YNAB for about a year and a half and frankly it’s been the best thing that’s ever happened to our cash flow!  Unfortunately money is not the reason we’re breaking up, so now we find ourselves having to figure out how to start separating financially as well.  We plan on continuing to pay all expenses jointly during the separation, with each getting an allowance and any income above allowances/joint expenses going into the common fund to be divided later (what used to be our Emergency Fund).  The parting is amicable, we’re still friends, and we welcome any financial advice related to cash flow, budgeting, and splitting up our YNAB.

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    • Khaki Storm I had read that thread, thanks.  It seems to be geared a little more towards overall divorce topics, and seems to presuppose that there is animosity or conflict between the spouses.  I was hoping for more finance-specific advice, and maybe advice from people who split amicably.  😊

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      • Khaki Storm
      • YNAB book topics online: https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/q5w48j
      • Khaki_Storm.1
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Violet Storm I'll ask a friend who did. I suppose a concern would be what if things don't go as planned. Another thought is not to change anything. I'm told in my state if both parties agree to all terms upfront, a dissolution can be as short as 45 days start to finish, most of that time is waiting for the court hearing. That's a month and a half of bills, etc. Is it worth it to change who pays what in that short time. 

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      • Khaki Storm
      • YNAB book topics online: https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/q5w48j
      • Khaki_Storm.1
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Violet Storm Friend says, all before the initial court date, they did the following: 1) both had separate checking, credit cards, and bank accounts, no change there 2) only joint asset was the house, one sold their half to the other 3) all utilities (were about 50/50) went into name of new 100% home owner. The court meeting was short and done in one meeting. 

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    • Khaki Storm Thank you for asking your friend for me!  We don't already have separate accounts, so we'll be looking into that.   It's going to take us longer to hash out all of the details for the divorce filing (kids, assets, alimony, etc) but hopefully we can be divorced that quickly after filing!

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      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Violet Storm Best of luck! My divorce was amicable too and yet it took 2 years to finalize! Even while amicable, it is not a fun experience so hang in there. My ex and I were not using YNAB together so I can't share any experience there but we did separate our accounts. She moved out so that simplified things as we weren't sharing too many bills. The most important thing is that you both keep your kids in mind and always do what's best for them during the process.

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    • Superbone Thanks!  We won't be filing the actual divorce for at least a year due to state regulations (stupid, if you ask me) so in the end it will probably take as long as yours.  It's definitely not fun.  We're keeping the kids paramount but sometimes what's best for them isn't the best financial decision, so that's part of what we're trying to hash out.  Right now we're still planning on living in the same house for most of the next year, to save money, but eventually we're going to have to take a hard look at whether to keep this house or both move out.  It's tough.

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      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 4 mths ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      Violet Storm My divorce began in 2008 just as our house lost a ton of value and was underwater to the tune of $100K. In my case, I got stuck with the house which was a real burden at the time. Financially, things were very tight for me and that's where YNAB really helped me get through that time. I stuck it out and was eventually able to sell it at a profit. In other words, we didn't have a choice to sell the house and split the proceeds. 

      I'm sure you guys will figure out how to deal with the house in time. I liked the stability of keeping the house for the kids (half the time) but it was a financial burden. Just know that with the passage of time, things will get better.  Hang in there.

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    • Violet Storm Welcome to the club :-(

      I'm at the tail end of the process and we are on very good terms with one another. Married for almost 30 years, but the last 10 were pretty rocky. By the time we physically separated (about a year and a half ago) we were both pretty convinced that a divorce was the best option.

      When we split, everything was joint, except for our respective IRAs, pensions, etc.  Over the course of about a year, we each opened our own checking accounts, cancelled the joint ones. Each of us opened our own credit card accounts and came up with a solution for how to divide up whatever assets we had. We had sold our house a few years before so that wasn't an issue. I also had an inheritance that was mine. After we split, each of us rented our own apartments and we were each responsible for meeting those financial responsibilities (rent, utilities, each of us had a car, etc) We still had 2 kids in college, which was (and still is) a huge financial burden. My husband had been out of work for a while when the kids started college, and I paid for almost all of the college bills for almost 2 years. I also supported us. He now makes much, much more than I do and he has agreed to take over all the college expenses until they both graduate (one is  a senior and 1 is a sophomore) In addition, he has agreed to give me a fixed amount of money every month until either I remarry (aint happening) or he retires. I'll have to figure out what to do after he retires but I'm not worrying about that now. Neither one of us wanted to get involved with divorce attorneys, as they are horrifically expensive and we thought we could come up with an agreement ourselves, which we did. We are having an attorney draw up the legal document, which will then be presented to the judge for finalization.

      I don't know how old your kid are--ours were older and I think ours totally understood why we were splitting. We told them that there was no animosity and we both wanted to kids to know that they could have whatever kind of relationship they wanted with each of us. We also told them that this wasn't anyone's fault, it just was and that they really didn't need to think about whose side they were on. We didn't want there to be sides. For us, having older children, it was relatively easy, as none of them lived at home when we split so there were no custody issues, where they would live, etc. When the younger ones come home from college on breaks, they stay with either of us, as we both live in Chicago and that makes it pretty easy on us and the kids. 

      Even under the best of circumstances, divorce is hard. Even though I wanted the separation, it still makes me pretty sad some days. 

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    • KnitPurlKnit Thanks for chiming in.  Were you guys using YNAB beforehand?  I do really well with YNAB, it works for my brain in a way that Quicken and Mint just didn't, but I'm struggling to wrap my brain around how to use YNAB to set new budgets for ourselves while we're still sharing everything, how to split off into two entities when he finally does move out, and how the heck to calculate alimony and child support.  My kids are 11 and 8, my husband makes 90% of the money that comes into this house because I stayed home with the kids and only just started a part-time job 2 years ago, so the financial aspect of all this is keeping me up at night.  I've taken my stuff to a CDFA for advice but he's still in the analyzing stage and had never heard of YNAB.

      As far as telling the kids, they're already in therapy for ADHD and anxiety disorder respectively, so I'll be consulting with their therapists on how to move forward on that.  We are certainly able and willing to present a united front on things, though I think we could stand some parenting coaching!

      I was blindsided by this...I had no idea he was even thinking about leaving.  But even if he wasn't already out, I couldn't stay where I'm not loved.  Cared for and respected is not enough, we all deserve our spouse to love us...or really what's the point of being married?

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    • Violet Storm I am so sorry you are going through this. And to be blindsided by it must have made it even harder. I know exactly what you're saying about wanting to be loved. And not wanting to stay in a place where you're not. 

      We were not using YNAB while we were together. As a matter of fact, in 30 years of marriage we had never budgeted anything. Which is why, while we weren't really in debt, we had nothing put aside for rainy days. If it was in the bank account, it was spendable. The only good thing we did was not run up any credit card bills. We had a pact that whatever we bought had to be paid off in full when the bill came. Small positive, I guess.

      I discovered YNAB after we split when things became financially unstable for me. I was working at a job, making decent money and fully able to support myself, when I was blindsided by the fact that my employer wanted me to help her commit Medicare fraud. (I was the COO of a large health care practice) When I refused, she fired me. I had gotten this job by pure luck, as I met her because I was her patient! We hit it off, one thing led to another, etc. I had worked on Wall St as a bond trade for over 25 years and then when I had children very late in life, I left my career to stay home (not my first choice but this was what hubby wanted and I was in the" wanting to please" stage of our marriage) By the time I wanted back into the work force, the markets had changed drastically and I didn't want to go back to that industry. So when I got fired, panic ensued. Where was I going to get another job at my age (60's) that would support me? That's when I realized I needed to do something about my instant gratification spending habits and I found YNAB this past April. It instantly made a lot of sense to me. The first couple of months were hairy, as we still had some joint accounts, he was giving me money at odd times and I never knew how much, so I was pretty disorganized. But we had already physically separated so I had a good idea of what my fixed monthly expenses were. I ball-parked what other things I knew I needed to spend money on each month, but my budget has changed pretty drastically since I started YNAB.

      From your response, I'm unsure of how involved your spouse is in the current use of YNAB. Is he on-board and using it, or its pretty much all you? If you're in it together, maybe you could start together by making a current budget for the entire family. Then, at least after a couple of months, you would have a good idea of how much money you actually spend, where you could make cuts, and what your true expenses are in real life. Obviously, when you split, the expenses are going to go up, as you will need 2 residences. But before then, I would try to get an idea of how much it will cost you to either rent/buy a new place. If you're in a house that you own, is one of you planning on staying there? There are a lot of decisions to be made, more so in your case because you have children still at home. 

      Before we worked out an agreement between the 2 of us, we did see a divorce mediator. He was very helpful. We both laid out everything we owned jointly, and everything that each of us held separately. He took into account who made how much, what life style we were both accustomed to, and after analyzing it, made some suggestions to us as to what he thought would be fair. We were under no obligation to follow his advice but it did give us a starting point. The other thing you need to find out is what the state laws are where you live regarding divorce, alimony/maintenance, community property, etc. My husband and I were married in NYC but we're divorcing in Chicago and the laws here are quite different than they are in NY. 

      Lots of questions to ask, things to figure out and decisions to be made. When I was in that stage, I started understanding what the phrase "you don't know what you don't know" meant. Feel free to post questions here. Or if you would like to talk privately about my experiences and yours, don't hesitate to message me. Hang in there....it does (eventually) get better.

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    • KnitPurlKnit Oh man.  That sounds horrible!  I'm a little bit in panic mode because my job is 15 hours a week at a low wage, and while I could get a few more hours I can't increase my wage at the current job (contract work).  So I'm exploring what options I have to increase my income, before I actually need to have an increased income!

      My husband was hit or miss on entering transactions before we started talking about separating, but he's been very good about entering them since.  It's such a wonderful feeling to download transactions from the banks and have every single one match!!!  Before, I would think that I had enough left in the grocery budget to splurge a little, then a transaction of his would come through and we'd be over budget.  That hasn't happened lately, which is great.  In fact, if we had had YNAB 10 years ago, we would be sitting on a very nice pile of savings right now, he would have maxed out his employer match on retirement already, and we'd probably not be having some of the "how do we make this work" conversations we're currently having.  He even said as much!  Which kind of felt like a slap in the face, because he's the spender and I'm the saver, and since I was in charge of day-to-day finance decisions it feels like he's saying it's my fault.  But we used Quicken for the longest time and it just didn't work for my brain the way YNAB does.  Like you, we also did not run up any credit card bills, in fact we could pay our two cards off right now and cut them up and still be perfectly fine, and we were good about talking about medium to large purchases, but it was the little things that did us in, budget-wise.  We have put together a budget for starting to split off and will be putting it into action October 1st.  Still all in the same accounts, but we figure we need to get the numbers worked out and finalized before we start complicating the direct deposits!

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