Divorce and your financesEditor's Note: This is the third of a three-part series that will cover five key financial steps to take before entering divorce negotiations. Part One covered why a review of your credit report is essential, and Part Two covered tallying your assets and getting them appraised.

During divorce negotiations, calculating living costs, including child care, that were incurred during the marriage and projecting those expenses into the future can have a major impact on who gets how much in the settlement and why. While it might be difficult to do, Noah Rosenfarb, a licensed certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA) and managing director of Freedom Divorce Advisors in New Jersey, suggests that both parties in a divorce find a way to work together at the outset of negotiations to jointly determine their total household expenses during the marriage, because it will save time and money later.

It can also be helpful to jointly negotiate the cost of some of the ongoing expenses that will occur after the divorce is final. This can eliminate duplication of costs such as buying two video-game consoles for the children or buying excessive amounts of clothing for them.

While determining expenses jointly is great when it works, it isn't common. Often, divorcing parties can't agree on what expenses will be after separation because they rarely see eye-to-eye on how lavish their former lifestyle was.

"The higher income earning spouse tends to minimize the couple's expenses, while the person seeking alimony, tends to exaggerate the expenses," Rosenfarb says.

For those who can do it, calculating expenses jointly helps clarify points in the negotiation that should be acceptable to both parties. However, creating your own expense estimates and budget projections is an essential exercise because you must come to the negotiations with someplace to start.

4. Project What Your Expenses Will Be After The Divorce: The budget you had prior to the divorce will definitely change afterward, so determine if your income plus the settlement will accommodate your expenses. Many newly separated people find themselves shocked, having failed to realize how expensive a lifestyle they'd been leading until they have to pay for it on their own. Be prepared to document your expenses so that you can receive a fair settlement, but also be prepared to trim your expenses, because alimony payments may not be what you expect.

Contrary to what most people might expect, Carole Peck, a licensed CDFA in Florida and Illinois, says the spouse who gets the house in the settlement often gets the worst of the deal. That's because the house comes packed with huge extra expenses such as property taxes, higher energy bills and repair and maintenance costs that typically run into the thousands of dollars annually.

Peck says because they must use a larger portion of their income to pay for the mortgage and associated costs, the spouse who gets the house in a divorce often winds up making smaller contributions to a retirement account, which can be a long-term negative.

"The person who is going to keep the house for the children's sake deserves to be compensated for keeping the house for a longer period of time," says Peck.

Additionally, in today's real estate market, property values aren't appreciating like they did five years ago -- indeed, in some markets, values have the potential to fall again in the near future. "Whomever gets the house may actually be getting a financial burden," Peck warns.

5. Determine How Child Care Will Affect You Financially: Whether it's paying for babysitters, day care or expenses for child visits, you're likely to face new costs that you've never had to budget for before. Arranging for help to care for small children in the home is a sizable expense that you don't want to leave out of settlement negotiations. It may also be necessary to add to your financial outlay during the negotiations the cost of additional food, clothing and other items needed to raise a child properly.

Being the custodial parent for a child can also have an indirect affect on salary increases and career advancement. Working late frequently or constant traveling for the job to earn a promotion may not be possible if you have to take care of a small child at home. Determining how you'll deal with those situations and the cost for appropriate help to care for your child will also need to be factored into your overall expenses.

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I appreciate the articles,except for the most part your talking about each spouse working & also still having children.I was a stay at home mom with 4 kids. Had a horse accident in 2005 where most important part of ankle broken in 7 places.He dropped me off at my mom's.I am still unable to walk have just had my 8th surgery.He is 9 yrs older than me.We have been married since 1977 and lived together 4 2yrs.When he retired he took out all of retirement,had live insurance plan which accred cash value but cost him $600 a mo.Which he choose to stop paying.He just started paying something 2 yrs ago.Which I give 2 my mom as she lives on $900 a mo.and is taking care of me...& I should be taking care of her! she will be 90 yrs in few mos.How am I supposed 2 afford a lawyer? Cannot even talk 2 him.He has been getting rid of things. My whole life is there since I was 19 yrs old.I am 54 now.His net income last yr was $77,000.He even gets disability (he is just out of shape not disabled!)His reason 4 abandoning me?-He can't stand sick people! I am not sick I'm injured looking at a whole ankle implant this time & how many more yrs b4 able to walk? Or I could amputate my leg and get on with my life.With horses I doubt it.He always wanted me 2 stay at home with the kids...the most hardest AND MOST REWARDING,until after abandoning me,he just buys the kids everything and gets to finally know them.And her I lay waiting 4 next Dr appt and praying 4 my sanity.Two dogs 4 best friends and wonderful mother who should not have 2 be going thru this,or seeing this.He just dropped the dental..he has had false teeth since he was 18.So with money he gives me dr. deductibles come out I need glasses,etc.Do not know what 2 do.Just the last 6yrs have been the hardest & longest of my life.I am a nothing anymore.So what does someone like myself do? I used 2 be so different,but pain takes alot out of you,along with emotional abuse from husband that doesn't want a divorce.That right there tells me alot! He says I'd be worse off if i get divorce.

January 25 2011 at 5:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to BORNACWGRL's comment

Thats just wrong Plain wrong. and there are Lawyers out there that will help you. and there are state agencies that will as well. you need to look into them. Im about fairness and whats right Damn shame our goverment and judicial system isnt.

January 25 2011 at 9:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Just reading the comments makes me never want to be married.

January 25 2011 at 4:37 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

We as a society have deemed women to be the victim in divorce, and thus, men to be evil. It is obvious that the divorce decrees in this country are so totally out of whack with any semblance of fairness. Any man of means would have to be crazy to marry in the US.

January 25 2011 at 2:27 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Women get screwed in divorce too. I did not want the split to turn hateful, so I let him handle everything, and insisted on taking less than I was supposed to get. He got even meaner, and when our daughter got hit by a car in another city, and was seriously injured, he didn't even tell me.

January 25 2011 at 2:01 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I say who ever cheats should get the shaft. and loose custody of the kids. but to often the cheater wins all the way. me and my friend caught his wife cheating when we walked in from work early 1 day. He filed for divorce. he got screwed every which way even though he had witneses. and the guy that she was cheating with testified and he had pics. he testified because she left him for some other guy that was married who is also now divorced. in the mean time shes doing all this with no concern for what the kids think. Neighbors have called DCFS about her kids being unattended and the police have been there many times for parties at all hrs of the night, but yet the state dose nothing. its all been documented. so tell me what should he do? hes paying for it in more ways than 1. and he has to wait till the kids are 12 for them to be able to override the court. I say to he77 with getting married its best to live with em for a few yrs then move on before common law takes hold. and dont have kids. unless 1 of you adopt them and i mean 1 of you not both.

January 25 2011 at 1:16 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

If you're a man, prepare to lose half your stuff. If you're a woman prepare to get half of your husband's stuff.

January 25 2011 at 1:08 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to davesque's comment

LOL not always the case but LOL

January 25 2011 at 1:13 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

Word of advise, It is cheaper to her!
Finances are very emotional. One thing I'd like to see are state/federal tax topics, perhaps in the next segment; from my experiences when children are involved there are shared exemptions in alternating years- but obligations have to be met, such as medical bills, daycare, health and life insurance. Look into getting a Trust; especially if you could not trust the x with money then, you won't in the future.

January 25 2011 at 12:37 AM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply

Marriage is the leading cause of dvorce :) Chris rock explained it best. When you are dating a woman, that is not the person you are going to marry, its her representative. One she closes the deal she will turn into the person she really is.

January 25 2011 at 12:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to spongeworthy06's comment

Buy her an expensive ring; work your A$% off to give he everything and LIVE THE REST OF YOUR LIFE IN HELL!!

January 25 2011 at 1:28 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
Duane Niersmann

Boy this is a laughing joke. Nothing has happened this way in my now divorce that has been going on for almost 4 years. I have lost my business and she has been awarded all of the comminuity property even my personal stuff, all because I wouldn't just give her my half of the home that her and the married boyfriend lives in. I have asked that the home be sold and the judge gives her exclusive use of the home. This is a Female judge in the case inwhich I asked for her to be recused because of misconduct in the case and the Judge refussed to resign.
The soon to be ex has aleinated the 4 children so badly that it is beyond repair now, and because I just wouldn't give her everything I am now forced to pay 30,000.00 dollars in child support and the Attorney General is now taking any and all funds I have and the divorce isn't even over with yet. Such great Justices here in the Great State of Texas. No due Process or Equal Protection.
5 attorney's have withdrawn off the case stealing many thousands of dollars from me and nothing is done to them. I have asked for a jury trial and that is deined.
So I am left to live in the dog house, and working street corners asking for pocket change, what a wonder life it is here in Bell County Texas.

January 25 2011 at 12:26 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Duane Niersmann's comment

you are not alone....

January 25 2011 at 2:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

While you're thinking about your budget...it is one thing to be awarded spousal and/or child support. It's yet another to collect it. People can--and do--quit jobs or take lesser paying jobs in order to avoid paying what was originally ordered. If you are so unfortunate as to live in CA, understand that child support is now called: contributions in support of the child/ren. It's one of the reasons our welfare system costs so much.

These AOL writers assume that divorce is amicable and mothers/fathers want to support their children post divorce, when what they usually want is to unfetter themselves from a situation they simply don't want to shoulder the responsibility for any longer. The authors also leave out an important factor: retirement plans. Lawyers will oft times negotiate those away in favor of more child/spousal support. It sounds like a good idea short term, but is a bad move if you are over forty and forced to make up for the lost retirement money you would have had had the marriage succeeded.

January 24 2011 at 11:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply