A divorcing couple’s living expenses can have a significant impact on the size of their resulting divorce settlement. For example, the settlement for a couple who lives in an expensive city could look quite different than the settlement for a couple who lives in a more affordable area, even if the couples’ finances are otherwise identical.
Crafting a divorce settlement that appropriately takes the cost of living into account can be difficult, and you may benefit from the help of an experienced attorney. At Hargrave Law, PC, we can help you work out your budget in detail, so you have the information you need at the negotiating table. Contact us today to learn more about how we can support you through your Texas divorce case during an initial consultation.
Could My Cost of Living Impact My Divorce Settlement?
Yes. One of the most important steps in calculating a divorce settlement involves determining whether one spouse will be responsible for making support payments to the other, and, if so, how much should be paid.
When marital property is divided in a Texas divorce case, the court’s objective is to make sure both spouses have the resources they need to maintain the standard of living they had during the marriage. To achieve this goal, Texas family law judges order “equitable distribution” of marital assets, which is not necessarily the same thing as an even split.
Judges weigh many factors—including each spouse’s respective cost of living—when deciding how much one spouse should pay in spousal support or surrender in assets to ensure the other can maintain a reasonable standard of living after divorce.
How to Calculate Your Cost of Living
Calculating your cost of living can seem tedious, but figuring out how much money you need to live each month is a vital component of your divorce settlement process. To determine your cost of living, you should consider:
- Fixed monthly expenses – These include mortgage or rent payments, monthly insurance costs, property taxes, internet or cable bills, and phone bills. If you have any expenses that you pay only a few times each year, add up the annual total and divide by 12 to determine your monthly cost.
- Typical weekly expenses – Weekly expenses may include groceries, dining expenses, home maintenance services, commuting costs, and other budget items you calculate on a weekly basis. Remember there are actually about 4.3 weeks each month, not just four.
- Variable expenses – This includes utility bills, vehicle maintenance costs, and medical or health expenses, which can vary from month to month. To estimate these variable expenses, obtain annual totals or averages for each and then divide by 12.
- Estimated personal expenses – Personal expenses include things like clothing, subscription services, memberships, gifts, donations, recreation and entertainment, and pet expenses.
How a Lawyer Can Help
At Hargrave Law, PC, we understand how emotionally and financially draining a divorce can be. Our experienced and compassionate Bedford, TX divorce attorneys are here to relieve the pressure and help you through this challenging time, by:
- Providing clear, objective, and actionable legal advice
- Helping you consider factors such as spousal support, child support, and custody
- Acting as an impartial communicator between you and your spouse
- Accounting for marital debts and assets and calculating your cost of living
- Formulating a debt repayment plan and estimating possible support payments
- Developing a parenting plan that meets your children’s needs, if applicable
- Preparing paperwork, documentation, and supporting evidence for your case
- Negotiating on your behalf during divorce settlement proceedings
- Representing you in court during disputes over divorce, support, or custody
Contact Hargrave Law, PC
The trusted divorce lawyers of Hargrave Law, PC take a personalized approach to every case we handle. When we begin work on your case, we can develop a tailored legal strategy to give you the best chance at a favorable outcome.
Contact us today to discuss your situation with a compassionate member of our team in your initial case review.