Adjusting to a change in income

We all know it’s sometimes hard to make ends meet even when we are living as a couple.  It can get harder when living as a separated dad as it is more expensive living as a single.  Not only are you now paying all your living expenses on your own but you most probably have additional expenses in way of child support and assistance for your children and/ or just the added expense of caring for the children whilst in your care.
Don’t go it alone if you need help! Ask around and you will be surprised how much free help and assistance there is.  There are lots of places you can go to get your finances sorted but the first step is to make a budget and workout your limits.
There was a study conducted not that long ago on post-separated fathering by The Australian Institute of Family Studies which found that men appeared to be generally ‘unaware of and unprepared for separation.  This can mean that men do not approach their finances as an important factor in maintaining a positive parenting environment i.e. doing a budget will help you not spend more than you earn.  This is critical for your health and well-being and this is important for your children.
The Australian Government has provided some great tools and resources to assist you with information that will help you through these life events such as separation and divorce.  There is a great Budget Planner that helps you think about your money and looks at what is essential and what could be cut back if necessary to get you through this period.

If you feel you need urgent help to sort out your bills and prepare a budget, you can call 1800 007 007.  This free hotline is open from 9.30am – 4pm Monday to Friday.  When you call the number you will automatically be transferred to the phone service in your state where a financial counsellor will help you.

Comments

  1. Brad says:

    So true, I didn’t know how I would make ends meet, your right I was unprepared! Things have settled for me and I am budgeting well and no one really goes without. Your link to the budget planner is a good one, I didn’t use that but wish I did. I started getting fit which actually cost no money because I walked and jogged and still do, it kept me out of the pubs and clubs and today I am a pretty good saver and have atleast a full month salary saved for an emergency fund now. I needed to save because there is always unexpected expenses that come up and I don’t have anyone I can turn too. I learnt that quickly when I had to go and speak to my child’s teacher and ask if I could pay for the excursion the month after, embarrassing so I cut alot of unnessary things like cutting back eating out and smoking! 2 years off them!! Anyway, great post,well done.

  2. Karen says:

    What a great article. A budget is so very necessary. A great tool is also to have a ‘financial’ calendar in a place that’s personal but visited frequently, like your wardrobe door for example. A simple one from the $2 shop is all that’s needed, or even one of the freebies from the chemist or butcher. Mark on this all known financial commitments – pay days, due dates for bills, direct debits, loan payments, etc. And don’t forget birthdays, as they are probably the most important expense of all. This way, you can be reminded every day of all upcoming expenses which can help in your everyday decision making on spending.

  3. Jamie says:

    Well I have a daughter who I have been cut out of her life for 13 years while her mum in the meantime has had three more children to two different guys. She lost custody of two of them but here I am 13 years and my daughter hasn’t stayed with me once. No amount of justifying Child Support will ever make me feel OK.

    I have since she took off on me met another lovely partner who I have two daughters to and have been together the whole time. But thanks to me being ‘unprepared’ for the weight of Child Support on my back 18 years it has prevented me and my new partner buying a home or really having a life until Child Support ends.

    So budgeting is a load of BS

  4. Rodger says:

    My child support payments are due to end soon, (one fortnight away – according to CSA).
    It has been a challenging task during employed and unemployed years … I never missed a single payment. (sometimes transferred way more than 20K a year).
    Anyway, I never viewed the kids as a monthly burden or anything like that … and was always happy to help out and participate, physically and financially.
    The children’s mother relies on the CSA payments to meet bills – food, rent, so forth.
    I dunno what to do!
    I’m old now, (mid 50s) … and want to buy a house, see the world, have a bank account again.
    Would it be cruel to stop paying the mother? (because she definitely, will not meet rent demands and other bills).
    And my youngest child .. (past 18 now – within school year though)… still lives with her mum.
    It is a dilemma … I love my daughter and want to help her out; but I don’t want to support the children’s mother too – for ever and a day; (it seems).
    Any wisdom, much appreciated.
    Cheers,

    • SJ says:

      It seems you left this query 2years ago, so hopefully you have found some measure of an answer… I just wanted to say that it is not your obligation to support your ex, only your child until a certain age or adult. At 16 your child can begin working, and at 18 should be able to apply for newstart or gov assistance to study/rent, as soon as they have earnt a certain amount of money independently and prove they are no longer receiving/relying on support from parents. Your ex should be mature enough to recognise that the life she had whilst raising and supporting a child/teen would change when the child reached a certain age. She will have to shift this time/energy she put into caring for the child, into now caring for herself. This may mean seeking employment to cover bills. The kindest thing on your part would be to write a letter to the mother and the child (perhaps separately) explaining that you have felt great obligation to care for and assist them both whilst the child was being raised, but that as the child reaches maturity, you feel the financial aspect of this care will shift in accordance with the child becoming an adult. Ask them for their thoughts. Allow for them to respond with what their expectations were, or what they think would be reasonable. Perhaps a negotiation point could be to discuss what would best help the child as they progressed into a study or work situation. Study may last an extra 1-7years. Perhaps having the conversation now, and agreeing to assist during this time, or at the beginning of this time to offer stability, will be a more agreeable solution to simply cutting off the payments immediately. It may also help the mother to adjust her perspective on her life in years to come and what added responsibility she will have to take to cover the rent/bills etc on her own.
      Kind Regards,

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