It does not matter how much money Virginia couples have during their marriage. Divorce will bring financial changes and the agreement the parties reach can help create some post-divorce financial security. To better understand what will make that happen, it would be wise to create a realistic budget.

The first step involves getting back to basics — write down all income and expenses. Each party should rely on his or her own income for this part of the process. Expenses will need to include as much detail as possible. The list should include rent or mortgage, utilities, groceries, gas and whatever other ordinary expenses an each party currently has. Once the numbers in each column are added up, it should provide a clear picture of the reality of the situation.

In many cases, expenses will usually outweigh income at this point. In order to get a more realistic view of what it will take to live after the divorce, each party would benefit from tracking individual expenses for as long as possible. Everything needs to be accounted for from rent to lunches to specialty drinks. With these numbers, an individual can cut expenses where necessary in order to come up with a realistic budget in order to provide a starting point for asset division. It may also indicate a need to request spousal support.

Some people love to budget, but many others cannot fathom having to do it and actively avoid it. However, when contemplating or going through the Virginia divorce process, it takes on an undeniable importance. Without knowing what is needed in order to achieve some financial security from the divorce process, it will be nearly impossible to get a truly fair and equitable settlement.