Don't Let Divorce Cost You More Than It Should: Tips For Protecting Your Finances
The financial aspect of divorce can be an overwhelming struggle. Even in an amicable separation, it can be costly. The first thing that you should do when you're approaching a divorce is take a clear, honest look at your financial situation. Being financially proactive in the early stages of the divorce is the best way to avoid finding yourself buried in a financial disaster after you file. Here are some suggestions to help you get control of and protect your finances through the divorce.
Know the Cost
There is no single guideline that defines how much a divorce will cost. It can vary from as little as a couple hundred dollars in filing fees and other court costs to hundreds of thousands of dollars in attorney fees and asset division. If your divorce is a mutually-agreed split and there are no significant assets or children in the marriage, you may be able to file for an uncontested divorce and pay only the filing fees.
If, on the other hand, you have children together as well as a home, investment portfolios and other assets, the costs will add up fast. In addition to the court costs, you'll want to retain an attorney, which can get costly over time. You may also need the services of a forensic accountant or other legal experts along the way, particularly in cases where there's a joint business venture or concerns of dishonesty.
You can get a better idea of the financial implications of your divorce filing by talking with an attorney early in the process. Consulting a professional right away may help to reduce the surprises along the way, making the process easier to get through.
Build Your New Budget
One of the most difficult parts of the post-divorce stage is starting over financially. After all, when you split a single household into two parts, including the bank accounts, bills and other investments, it can take time to get a handle on all of it. If you weren't the one who handled the household finances, this transition can be even more difficult.
The best place to start is to build a budget that covers all of the costs for your new single-income household. Make sure that you estimate a payment for child support and alimony if you have any reason to suspect that you'll have to pay either one.
Some people underestimate the importance of this stage, but it's a vital step for ensuring your financial stability. After all, if you don't know what you can afford and what you can't during the transition, you may inadvertently overextend yourself and then find that you're struggling to meet your bills and any court-ordered payments.
Divide the Assets Evenly
Sometimes, in the interest of getting things over with as quickly as possible, you may find yourself considering just giving your spouse everything that he or she is asking for. This may save you some of the court battle and debate, but it will also result in you sacrificing assets that you are likely entitled to own. Don't let go of things that are important to you or things that you are entitled to just to get it over with. It won't save you much time in the process, and you're likely to regret it later.
It is only natural that a divorce be an emotional process, and it can be overwhelming sometimes. Don't let your emotional upheaval overpower your logical reasoning when it comes to your finances and your future. With the tips presented here and the support of a knowledgeable attorney (such as the Law Offices of Lynda Latta, LLC), you can avoid many of the common financial disasters of the divorce process.