Evaluating the Marital Estate and Creating Budgets

Richmond family attorneyThe divorce process requires both parties to establish future budgets based upon their current living expenses in order to evaluate and divide the marital estate. A skilled attorney can guide a soon-to-be ex-spouse through the budgeting process so that he or she can receive a fair chunk of the estate. Creating a comprehensive budget during divorce proceedings is usually beneficial to both parties in the long run. 

Focus on Housing Costs First

Depending on the situation, housing expenses may encompass the bulk of a divorcee's expenditures. During divorce negotiations, careful attention will be devoted to looking at the various costs included in maintaining the client's real estate, such as:

  • Mortgage or rent
  • Maintenance
  • Utilities
  • Community association membership fees
  • Property taxes

Maintenance Expenses

An ex-spouse's mortgage or rental payments are typically easy to determine because those figures tend to remain fairly consistent, but it may be more difficult for an attorney to calculate expenses like the cost of housing maintenance. For instance, if a soon-to-be ex-husband were responsible for the upkeep of the couple's house prior to the separation, the woman's lawyer would need to take that into consideration.

In order to estimate typical maintenance fees for the couple's home, several pieces of information need to be gathered, such as:

  • The ex-husband's receipts for hardware supplies
  • Charges for home repair projects
  • The potential cost of labor in the community

The ultimate figure could be used to project the ex-wife's future bills for maintaining her house.

Approximate Telephone Bills

Telephone services can range from inexpensive to costly. An ex-spouse who places long-distance telephone calls at least twice a week will probably rack up a pricier bill than an ex-spouse who places local calls only.

An attorney may want to approximate both divorcing parties' telephone bills in order to create a more complete budget. During the divorce, he or she could also recommend that both soon-to-be ex-spouses purchase their own telephones and corresponding telephone plans to begin separating their lives.