Getting a divorce is a tiresome and costly process which affects both the emotional and financial state of the spouses. The decision to separate can be so complicated that many people put it off for years, trying to save the relationship, attending family consultations, or looking for compromises on their own. Sometimes, the spouses succeed and manage to save their marriage. But there are also situations where nothing can be done, leaving no choice other than to get divorced and start a new life.
Before diving headlong into a large-scale divorce process, make sure that you can afford it. Are you well aware of your spouse’s financial situation and your own finances? It may happen that after a long trial and paying lawyers, you will be left with nothing.
How much does the divorce process cost?
The cost of the divorce process depends on many factors. Usually, the complexity of your case determines how much money you will have to pay. Expenses can include mandatory filing fees, services of a lawyer, services of a finance specialist, mediation, and other court fees and service provider fees. There may also be additional costs in the event of child support issues, alimony, and joint property. These costs can be very high, and not everyone can afford to pay them.
Private attorneys charge fees based on their qualifications, but no attorney comes cheap. According to statistics, the rates of divorce lawyers range from $150 – $600 an hour. The most expensive divorces (at an average of $16,000 – $17,000) are in the states of California, New York, and Delaware. The bulk of that extraordinary cost goes to the attorney.
As for the court fees, fortunately, there is a way to cut them down if a person’s income is not sufficient to accord the fees. A request can be made with the court to waive the fees completely or to postpone the payment. The court may grant the request on the condition that the person proves the lack of financial resources.
In some cases, the court may decide that one of the spouses must pay a reasonable remuneration for the services of the other party’s lawyer.
How to survive a divorce financially?
The biggest hurdle during the breakup is the financial one because spouses do not think about this aspect of their life while they are happily married. No one prepares for divorce straight away after the wedding ceremony or even while happily married. So when the time comes for the division of property and assets, most people feel overwhelmed.
Only complete awareness of the situation will make coping with this responsibility possible. Knowledge is power, and that’s not just a trite phrase. By adhering to a few basic rules, you can gain more control over the situation and minimize losses where possible.
Explore your financial situation.
Frequently, one spouse in a marriage takes the leading role when it comes to family finances, while the other one has only a vague idea of how it all works. If the person in the dark is you, it is time to fix the situation and do it fast.
Identify your assets and debts and find out what belongs to you personally. Think about the following:
- bank account statements;
- income and personal property tax returns;
- stock options;
- will and trust agreements;
- pensions, investments, annuities;
- life insurance;
- debts, and financial liabilities.
A careful evaluation of your assets and liabilities will help you to protect your financial situation in the future.
Get qualified help.
Surviving divorce financially can be a complicated task when you lack valuable information and qualified advice. When it comes to the divorce process, it is important to know the value of what you own. This requires professional appraisals of the property and other assets. Unless you are a certified accountant yourself, it would be a good idea to hire one to help you to deal with the financial side of the divorce process. Look for a qualified professional with a reputable network of connections.
Surely, you can try to figure it out on your own, but mistakes made now can cost you a lot in the future. It is virtually impossible to change something after the divorce decree is signed, so think carefully before you choose what strategy to follow.
Save on paperwork.
Before starting the divorce process, few people clearly understand the stages involved. They believe that sorting out all the issues will be extremely difficult, especially without a lawyer. While this is true for some complicated marriages, many situations can be resolved quickly and almost effortlessly.
For instance, in an uncontested divorce, you can prepare the necessary divorce papers by yourself. You only need to find out what forms are required in your case and submit them to the court. There are a lot of online divorce services that prepare paperwork at an affordable price, which is significantly less than what you would pay an attorney for the same job. Divorce over the internet is an easy way out if you don’t have enough time and want to save money. You can find more informations on Online Divorce.
Learn to control your spending.
Now is not the best time to make expensive purchases. Moreover, such behavior during a divorce process can be detrimental to your reputation in front of the court. Stress can add to your desire for excessive spending, but remember that you still have financial liabilities to deal with. You should think about saving as much as possible in these hard times. When the divorce is over, it is better to have a financial cushion to support you at least for some time. You can find a lot of mobile applications created to help you keep track of your finances.
“Expensive” does not mean “good.”
You do not have to hire the most expensive lawyer to get a divorce on favorable terms. There are plenty of qualified lawyers who do their jobs well, and at the same time, paying for their services will not cause you to go bankrupt. A professional opinion is always better than, for example, divorce advice from your friend. A good lawyer can effectively guide you through all the stages of your marriage dissolution and help to avoid dangerous pitfalls.
In some cases, you can do without the help of lawyers, thereby saving large sums of money. If, for example, your divorce is uncontested, then you just need to reach an agreement with your spouse on all essential issues and then file documents with the court.
Rearrange your bank accounts.
It is typical for spouses to have joint bank accounts and joint credit cards during a marriage. And until the divorce is finalized, the liabilities are shared between the parties. The best situation is when you and your spouse can agree on how to split the money. In this case, you can change the settings and limits of the account or close it. To manage your daily expenses, open a bank account in your name. This is a good idea, even if you do reach a compromise with your partner. If you cannot close down the joint account, at least do not add more debt to it on your behalf.
Another option, although not the most pleasant one, is to freeze your bank account. This is a common practice during divorce proceedings. Such a move will help prevent irresponsible spending by one of the spouses. To freeze an account, you must contact the bank and answer some identifying questions. This gives you time to negotiate with your spouse about how to distribution the assets when the joint account is reopened.
Divorce can become a severe financial burden on spouses. The decision to end the marriage inevitably brings the issue of sharing the property, savings, and debt obligations. And since there can never be identical circumstances, the cost of a divorce varies considerably from case to case. Your chances of going through this process with minimal losses will depend on whether you can wisely assess the situation and prioritize appropriately.