LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) – Getting divorced is tough. Having to live under the same roof because of debt can be even more taxing.
Financial planner Crystal Oculee said: “When you’re getting a divorce, a lot of times, you kind of want to get rid of that debt as quickly as possible so then you can afford to live on your own,” Oculee said.
While one of you sleeps in the bedroom, and the other takes the sofa, you need to set up a mutual spending and income plan.
Oculee said divorcing couples have to ask themselves questions including: “What are the debts that we have to pay off? What budget plan do we have to go on? How do we get rid of all this so we can get to our goal?” Here is some of her advice.
PAYING DOWN THE DEBT
- Determine who will pay off specific parts of the debt.
- Make a list of allowable expenses for each other so you don’t overspend.
- Set a goal date to pay off the debt.
“You have to really lay it all out and have a good financial plan to get there or you’re never going to get there,” Oculee advised.
- Don’t make purchases just to spite your spouse.
- Avoid any undisclosed money accounts.
- Don’t get into any more debt.
Once you have the financial arrangement set, it is time to handle the emotional arrangements.
Family therapist Fran Walfish understands the financial challenges families struggle through when living unhappily in one household.
“There are many couples leading up to making a difficult decision that they will separate who live in the same house with their children under one roof but are sleeping in separate bedrooms,” Walfish said.
If your child asks why mom and dad no longer sleep in the same room, “You can say things like: ‘Daddy and I have different sleeping patterns. Dad likes it warm. Mom likes it cold.’ That’s a common issue in all married couples, ” Walfish added.
She said the biggest complaint from children is listening to their parents fight.
Walfish warned: “Moms and dads, I want to alert you this way. Your kids cannot handle the fighting. So, if you must disagree and argue, do it behind closed doors. Shelter your children.”
She said no matter how hard it is to keep your cool under one roof, “suck it up and try to be civil around the children.”
The holidays can be a tough time for divorced couples or those going through a divorce. We’ll have advice to help you get through it Wednesday.
If you have a question about divorce, send it to us using the #CBSLAdivorceweek. We will answer it live on the 5 p.m. newscast Friday.