Budget preparation, even in the best of times, is not exactly an enjoyable task that people look forward to. Yet, it’s something that is absolutely imperative when a couple is separating or divorcing.
As Susan Ingram writes in this excellent article, most of the decisions during divorce mediation - child support, spousal support, equitable distribution of assets and liabilities - have a strong monetary/financial aspect to them. And that’s why it’s essential that couples prepare and review their budgets early in the process. Of course, it’s easier to do that if a couple is already living apart and thus has a clearer sense of what their individual expenses actually are. But even if they have not yet separated their households and finances, they still need to begin the process of projecting what their individual expenses will be.
Keep in mind that these discussions and negotiations take place in a mediation setting between the individual parties — not as a litigated matter in court before a judge. Mediation provides a unique setting that encourages couples to work together for the benefit of the whole family.