How to Make a Budget

It’s smart to make a budget when you’re thinking about separating. Once you separate, your family will have the same amount of income but twice the amount of expenses. There will be two mortgages (or rent payments), two power bills, two water bills, etc. Knowing ahead of time what your new income and expenses are is helpful to avoid increased debt.
If your case involves spousal support, a budget is necessary for your case. Wake County local rules require each party to turn over a financial affidavit. If you’re petitioning for spousal support, your financial affdiavit is due 30 days after you file your claim. If you’re responding to a claim for spousal support, your financial affidavit is due 45 days after you’re served with your spouse’s complaint. 
Below are some tips and tricks to creating a budget that works for you:

1. List All Income Sources

Write down your after-tax, monthly income.  If you receive income from other sources besides your employer, write those down as well.  Examples include, social security benefits, contract work, rental income, trust money and monetary gifts. 

2. List All Mandatory Expenses

Mandatory expenses are expenses you must pay each month without fail. These core expenses include, but may not be limited to, rent, power, water and phone.

3. List all Voluntary Expenses

These are the rest of your expenses. You should have a bit more discretion with these. For instance, food and gas bills can fluctuate each month. It’s also possible to pinch pennies in these categories. Likewise, your savings and any voluntary retirement deductions from your paycheck should go in here.
Take a look at your last three month’s bank and credit card statements to get an “average” monthly expense for each category of voluntary expenses.

4. Subtract Expenses from Income

Make sure your income – expenses = zero.  This way, you know you are giving every dollar a job.  This cuts down on “guesstimating.” 

 5. Take a Look at Our Financial Affidavit Worksheet

We give our clients a Financial Affidavit Worksheet to help them complete their financial affidavit.
You can use it to help you get started on your budget.  There are many different types of expenses to give you an idea of categories to write down. 
You can also go ahead and fill it out to help us with your financial affidavit when it comes time to submit it.  
Spousal support claims can be complicated.  Contact our office today to get the legal advice you need from an experienced family law attorney.
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