can I afford a divorce?

Can I Afford to Get Divorced?

Perhaps the only thing worse than realizing you need a divorce is realizing what it costs to dissolve a marriage. For many people, getting divorced is as expensive as actually getting married. But even though it can be expensive, this doesn’t mean that divorce should be completely off the table if this is the right option for you.

Wondering how you’re going to afford divorce and everything that comes with it? Learn more about your legal options now by calling Haygood, Cleveland, Pierce, Thompson & Short at 334-821-3892.

The Cost of Supporting Two Households

For some, the fear of divorce comes from the expense of supporting two households. Covering the expenses of one household is hard enough, but when you add in a second dwelling, car expenses, childcare, and other costs, it becomes almost too much to bear. However, it’s important to note that it’s unlikely you’ll be expected to shoulder the costs of two households.

Permanent alimony is very rarely awarded nowadays, as lower-earning partners are usually expected to increase their education or work experience to become more self-reliant. Furthermore, some people actually find that living without their ex-partner decreases their expenses. If you’ve taken on more and more expenses to keep your spouse happy, for example, you might find that divorce is less expensive than you think.

The Actual Cost of a Divorce

The other issue is the actual expenses of a divorce. In addition to an attorney, you’ll have to pay filing fees and other related costs. There is no way around this— and it can definitely be expensive. That doesn’t mean, though, that you can’t afford to get divorced. It might mean that you need to stay in the marriage a bit longer to put away extra money, use other dispute resolution methods to limit your attorney expenses, or take out a divorce loan to cover legal costs. All of these are ways to cover the temporary expenses of a permanent solution to an unhappy marriage.

Ways to Limit Your Costs

Even with the cost of an attorney, you can still limit your expenses in several ways. Don’t get caught up in the TV courtroom divorces that involve drawn-out legal battles that cost both sides tens of thousands of dollars. Divorce is rarely that complicated, and that only happens in the most contentious of splits.

It’s far more likely that, in the interest of saving you both money and time, you and your ex-partner will be able to come to an agreement on some issues in the divorce, saving time and fees. This allows you both to protect your best interest without going to court for every single issue.

You can also try alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation. This allows both parties to negotiate on key terms and come to an agreement. Nothing is legally enforceable until it is submitted to and approved by the court, so this process doesn’t force you to accept its terms. This option is best in low-dispute divorces where both parties simply want to get out with as little damage as possible.

When You Can’t Afford Not to Get a Divorce

While wondering if you can afford to get a divorce, ask yourself if you can afford not to get divorced. Once the decision to divorce has been made, the remaining relationship can spiral out of control quickly. You could find yourself living with an increasingly vengeful spouse who is committed to punishing you for bringing up the idea of divorce, or a spouse who is going to get every bit of money they can out of you before you finally file.

This can take a massive toll on your mental and emotional health. Living in a stressful household can be more toxic to your health than you might imagine. If you put off divorce because you don’t think you can afford it, it’s unlikely that you’re choosing not to divorce. You’re simply putting it off until you feel you’re in a better position to handle it. If that’s the case, you might want to talk to an attorney to find creative ways to make this the best time to handle it.

Don’t Rush Anything

First, don’t rush any major decisions. This can go both ways. Some people are in so much pain after a divorce decision that they want to burn all bridges with their ex-partner by demanding all of the marital assets, pushing for exorbitant amounts of alimony and child support, and otherwise trying to make their partner hurt financially.

On the flip side, some people are in such a rush to get through the divorce and move on that they give up their negotiation rights and walk away with nothing. Both of these decisions can really hurt you during and after the divorce process, so try to keep a cool head and think about what is best for your future.

Take the Initiative

Divorce is something that you can navigate and drive, or it is something that can happen to you. Once you know divorce is inevitable, make sure you fit into the first group. Don’t wait for your ex-partner to make the first move on filing, providing documentation, or opening negotiations. Get a good understanding of the financial and legal documents you’ll need, and either get them yourself or ask your spouse for them. You want to be in control of how the process goes instead of waiting around for something to happen.

Know Your Obligations and Rights

A big part of succeeding after divorce is having a realistic budget. However, you can’t do that unless you understand your financial obligations and entitlements. In terms of obligations, consider attorney’s fees, alimony, and child support, particularly if you are the higher-earning spouse or the one who will not be taking primary custody.

If you are the lower-earning spouse or you will likely end up with the children most of the time, you may be entitled to child support or alimony. Your attorney can help you get a realistic understanding of how much you’ll end up owing or receiving. This is not somewhere you want to be too optimistic. Doing so could land you in a situation where you can’t afford the lifestyle you’ve set up for yourself.

Sit Down with a Financial Advisor

If you decide to move forward with a divorce, you should at least speak with a Financial Advisor. It can be difficult to look at your money, consider your monthly expenses, and decide how to make your money work for you. A financial advisor can help you make sound decisions with your investments, find areas where you can cut back, and give you straightforward advice about your financial wellbeing.

Let Us Help with Your Divorce Needs

Our team understands the complicated emotions and fears that come with a divorce, including financial concerns. Let’s sit down and talk about your options and come up with a plan. To get started, call us at 334-821-3892 or reach out to our team online.

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