Ending a marriage can be a financially devastating prospect, but it does not necessarily have to be. Even though financial changes are inevitable, it is still possible to leave the marriage with some economic security. Illinois residents facing divorce may want to use one crucial tool that could go a long way toward making that happen — a budget.

Unless Illinois residents understand what kind of financial future they face, they cannot work toward a settlement that provides them with a better outlook. It may not be easy to sit down and take an unabashed look at what the future holds. Each party will have to live with less income and more expenses.

When creating a post-divorce budget, it is important to outline expenses as realistically as possible. Putting in numbers a person believes he or she can live with could end up making it difficult to live with that budget after the divorce is final. More than likely, the reality will not live up to that budget. Instead, it may help to use the current financial situation as a guide for expenses since individuals tend to get used to a certain lifestyle.

Even though it may not be a good idea to think that lifestyle will not have to change in some ways, Illinois courts do not want one party having a significant financial advantage over the other. If a review of a realistic budget reveals a deficiency in income versus expenses, an individual has a starting point for negotiations. However, a budget is only the first step to protecting an individual’s rights during a divorce. A wise step toward that end would be to work with an experienced family law attorney.