Many married couples rely on one spouse for payment of expenses and management of finances. This is one of the areas of divorce that can become very complicated, very quickly, for the partner that did not manage the household finances during the marriage. One of the best ways to manage your situation when you find yourself divorcing is to figure out what your finances are. Knowing how much you spend each month on necessities and luxuries is a step in the right direction towards becoming a functioning one-income household. Being aware of your finances when you have not been the party managing the finances will also help you feel empowered and it will help you provide your attorney with necessary information to establish temporary support during the pendency of your case.
One of the best ways to try and figure out how much you are spending is to fill out a financial disclosure form. These forms are available on various county websites. Right now, every county has a unique form for financial disclosure (Cook County’s is called a 13.3.1 Disclosure form, for example). However, there is going to be a universal financial disclosure form for the state of Illinois being released in the coming months. These forms breakdown all expenses into monthly amounts. The form accounts for what you spend on everything from groceries to repairs to your home, grooming, clothing, dining out, and medical expenses. The form should give an accurate depiction of what your needs are each month.
While there are formulas in place under Illinois law for how much support one should generally receive, there is some discretion as to how much support can be awarded when there are high income earning parties, as well as when there are extraordinary circumstances. Having a grasp on your financial needs and expenses each month is one of the first steps that you will be required to complete in the divorce process, and will give you the knowledge you need to speak to your attorney regarding your temporary support needs.