Jay Schwartz: Family First

Attorney Jay Schwartz offers advice for single parents and divorced families on lowering economic stress and financial uncertainties.

Managing your family’s income and expenditures in the throes of a divorce can be very unnerving. Even as you try to do what’s best for yourself and your children, drastic financial changes are a significant challenge. Jay Schwartz says there are easy steps to take to ensure your personal, mental, and fiscal wellbeing.

Don’t Panic

Money related stress is real. The uncertainties brought on by your new familial dynamic and post-divorce realities may leave you overwhelmed or anxious. Make sure your children know that you, and your ex, are still a source of stability and calm for them. Kids are smart and intuitive; if they see their parents panicking, they are likely to do the same.

Jay Schwartz says don't panic

Prioritize Spending

Every newly divorced parent knows that their income will change as a result of their marital split. Reconsidering all the things that you spend money on is a necessity. Take the time to write down all your family’s regular expenses and evaluate it based on secure and regular income. Your ex’s income may be affected too, which means that their alimony or child support might not be as reliable as you’d like to hope. Having all these figures in front of you makes it easier to build a budget, understand the financial future you face, and figure out a plan.

Teach and Train

A great way to discuss your new financial reality with your kids is by inserting it into relevant periods of their life. If your child is asking for a new smartphone have a discussion about priorities, saving, budgeting, etc. Use the issues your children bring up, or the material they are learning in school, as a stepping-stone for larger conversations about money. Help children understand the difference between needs and wants. Be honest, and age appropriate, with them about your own economic situation and share with them what you are and are not worried about.

Reach Out to Your Network

Your marriage may have ended, but that does not mean that your friendships and familial ties have. Even with only one income to fuel your household, you can and should seek out the assistance of those who care about you and your finances. Your divorce attorney, financial advisor, religious guide, and others are all available and trained to advocate on your behalf and help you secure the support you need.

Practice Patience

Your divorce was likely not an immediate decision. Your new life as a single parent isn’t going to come together and make sense immediately either. Be patient with yourself and give yourself time to gain control of the money matters. Similarly, show your children grace as they learn to navigate all the new aspects of their life. Avoid letting your kids hear you blame your former spouse for your financial struggles. Save those frustrations for private conversations with your legal team or mentors. Instead, help yourself and your kids identify the positive aspects of your financial situation. Celebrate fiscal progress and reaching financial goals.

Putting your family first, even in the midst of all your financial worry, will allow you to see all the important areas of your life- beyond the money. If you remain in control of your finances and maintain a reasonable plan for all fiscal eventualities, you will be able to stop worrying and instead focus on your life and your loved ones.

Jay A Schwartz is an attorney and owner of the Schwartz Law Firm Farmington Hills and Detroit Areas