Single Parent Survival After Divorce
There’s no question that being a single parent is one of the most challenging roles to handle. Believe me, I was raised in a single parent home. The pressure of handling homework, friends, activities, illness, child care, school vacations, as well as actually being available and present for your child can be overwhelming, to say the least! Factor in your job, errands and a sometimes-non-existent-social-life, and you’re pretty tapped. We haven’t even gotten to your finances, yet.
Managing your income and expenses in a single parent home is an entirely different ball game. With one income (and possible support from your co-parent), you’re still responsible for housing, utilities, food, clothing, plus entertainment for yourself and your child. How can you plan for all of that without pulling your hair out?
Sit down and take an honest look at your bills. Figure out what are requirements and what can be scaled back or removed. Once you determine what your budgeting situation actually looks like, you can begin to make a plan.
Write down every expense for the month (be sure to include food and fuel for your car). You'll be shocked when you really look at how you spend your money. Most people are on a semi-monthly or bi-weekly pay schedule. Seeing everything on paper gives you a clear visual so you can determine which bill will get paid from which paycheck. If you've recently been through a family law case, you know what documenting income and expenses is all about.
Begin now. Pay every bill you get from today forward, even if you already have a past due balance. Use any extra funds to pay those down. (Many companies are willing to help you with payment plans. You don't know until you ask!)
Buy food last. It sounds counter-intuitive, but grocery purchases can get out of control if you shop hungry (like me), with your children, or when you’re in a hurry (and let’s be honest, who isn’t in a hurry when you’re a single parent). As long as you have some money budgeted for food, you can figure out ways to make your dollars stretch. Meal plans, planning for leftovers, and using grocery coupons can help this area even more! I remember my mother even made a project out of making me clip coupons.
Creating a budget will allow you to focus on other areas of your life. When you know what needs to be paid, when, and how much, you can direct your attention to other things. Don't forget to consider anychanges in circumstances from your previous child support order. Perhaps it's time for a modification?
If you are a single parent and need help establishing or updating a child support order for your children, call for a FREE consultation with one of our attorneys at Márquez Law. We have the experience and passion to ensure that your children have the support they need to grow and flourish.
Jason A. Márquez is the Managing Partner and Owner of Márquez Law. If you're interested in learning more about the divorce or custody process, please contact us for a free consultation. We're here to help!