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new years resolutions for divorced dadsAt the beginning of every year, many people make resolutions related to parts of their lives that they hope to change in the coming months. While many resolutions fall by the wayside after a few weeks, the new year can be a great opportunity for dads who recently went through a divorce to work on the healing process and continue to adjust to the ways their lives have changed. Single dads may want to consider making some or all of the following resolutions as they continue to build a new life for themselves:

  1. Work on being a good co-parent - Even if the wounds of your divorce are still fresh, you’ll most likely need to maintain contact with your ex-spouse and work together to make sure you are both meeting your children’s needs. While you may not exactly be friendly with your ex, you can still work on communicating with each other and ensuring that you are both informed about what’s going on in your kids’ lives. You can also find ways to be flexible when necessary and adjust to changing schedules that affect when and where you pick up or drop off your kids or participate in their activities.

  2. Focus on putting your children first - It’s understandable to be stressed out as you adjust to being a single parent, but one of the most important things you can do is be present in your kids’ lives as much as possible. While you can’t control what happens when they aren’t with you, you can make a commitment to focus on them during your parenting time. By talking to your kids, playing with them, enjoying activities together, helping with their homework, and giving them your full attention, you can continue to build a positive relationship that will last a lifetime.

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child and spousal support divorced dads lawIf you are a father who is going through the divorce process, you’ll probably be concerned about your finances. In addition to dealing with the costs of the divorce itself, including legal fees and expenses related to finding new living arrangements, you’re going to need to create a new budget to determine how you can cover your ongoing expenses. In the midst of all of this, you may also have to deal with requirements to pay child support or spousal support, and you’ll want to understand when these types of payments are appropriate and how they are calculated.

The Purpose of Financial Support

Being required to pay support to your ex-spouse may seem like a punishment or penalty. However, this is usually not the reason that financial support is ordered. Instead, these payments are meant to ensure that you, your ex, and your children will all have the financial resources you need. 

Child support is paid for the benefit of children, ensuring that they will be provided for after their parents’ divorce. Each state has different laws that specify how child support obligations are calculated, but the amount of payments is usually based on the income that each parent earns, as well as the amount of parenting time children spend with each parent. While the parent who has more parenting time will usually receive child support from the other, this is not always the case. If you earn less than your ex, she could be required to pay child support to you, depending on the methods used to calculate child support in your state.

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divorced dad budgeting tipsGetting a divorce can wreak havoc on your finances. The costs involved in separating your life from your spouse can be significant, especially if you will be moving to a new home, setting up utilities, and purchasing items such as furniture or cooking utensils. When you add in the legal costs involved in the divorce process and any child support or spousal support payments that you will be required to make, you may wonder how you will be able to support yourself on a single income. Fortunately, with the proper financial preparation, you can determine how to live comfortably while meeting your needs and continuing to be a great parent for your children. Creating a workable budget is crucial during this time, and it can give you reassurance that you will be able to maintain financial security both right now and in the future.

Things to Keep in Mind When Creating a Budget

  1. Fully document your income and expenses - Tracking the income you earn and everything you spend money on will help you form a complete picture of your financial situation. Understanding the net income you take home after taxes, health insurance premiums, and support payments that are deducted from your paychecks will let you know how much you have to work with. You can then look at everything you spend money on, including food, utilities, rent or mortgage payments, car insurance, life insurance, gas or transportation, clothing, entertainment, medical expenses such as doctor visits or prescriptions, and expenses related to your children, such as school fees, extracurricular activities, clothing, or toys. Fully understanding all aspects of your finances can help you make sure you will be able to cover your ongoing expenses.

  2. Determine where you can cut back - As you adjust to your new financial situation, you may begin to look at the steps you can take to reduce your expenses. This may include cooking at home more often instead of eating out, utilizing sales and coupons when shopping for food or clothing, or foregoing expensive purchases for the time being.

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