It is always an interesting task in divorce and separation cases when you ask your client to predict their future living expenses, not to mention considering the same from the other side.

Some massively underestimate how much they spend and you have to convince them why it’s unlikely they will spend £20 a month on food and others massively over estimate and you have to explain how £500 for gifts to the gardener isn’t necessarily going to be accepted by their ex.

But thinking about it, how can you possible predict what you will need to live on in the future? Where are you going to live? How much will it cost to feed and clothe a  different sized household? Do the children have other needs? Have you calculated childcare? How many school friends will have parties in the year? How many lattes do you buy a week and most importantly how many glasses of Pinot do you really drink every day…?

It is definitely not an easy task, but putting a budget together is such a fundamental part of the process, whether you negotiate a settlement or end up in front of a Judge.

If you end up in court, the judge is going to see what you have put down, and although it may feel petty putting your daily coffee on that budget, an underestimation of expenditure could result in your needs not being met in the future. Surely it is better now to admit that realistically you get a takeaway a week, rather than a year down the line missing your weekly sushi takeaway as you can no longer afford it.

By the same token, a massive overestimation or an unrealistic budget is going to raise eyebrows from the other side (or worse, the judge) which is unlikely to work in your favour. I am not sure I want to see one of my clients trying to explain to a judge why moving forward they need a pedicure every day for the rest of their life, especially if I’m acting for the husband!

If you are involved in a separation or divorce and you want some guidance about the do’s and don’ts of your disclosed expenditure or you just fancy a chat as you think this is something you may have to consider sometime soon, give us a call or drop me an email at and I’ll even supply the latte, but not the pedicure.

Kleyman & Co Solicitors.  The full service law firm.  We know how to be good bean counters.