How to Avoid Finance-based Delays
Divorce is rarely an easy decision to make, in part because even if you’re sure it’s the right move for your heart, you might not be sure it’s right for your bank account. Divorce costs can be more than getting married nowadays and for most couples in most situations, it’s a financial hurdle to overcome. Money concerns are one of the major reasons couples delay getting divorced; it’s understandable why many people wait until they are ready to move forward financially, but there are ways of keeping the cost down. With that in mind, we’ve put together 8 common-sense methods for getting the divorce process done quickly without breaking the bank.
- Expect changes. You need to expect lifestyle changes to happen when you and your spouse decide to get divorced. It’s important to be prepared for any scenario – in other words, you can’t make plans assuming that you will receive alimony. You need to be able to support yourself if necessary, because supporting two households is more expensive than one.
- Go the uncontested divorce route. If you and your spouse are in agreement on the basic plan for your divorce, it would benefit you to go the uncontested route when filing. Uncontested divorce means you can avoid expensive attorney fees by preparing and filing the divorce documents on your own. There are resources, like Completecase.com, that help you prepare your divorce forms online and guarantee court approval.
- Do not draw out the process. If you are in a contested situation, the best way to save money is to think financially, not emotionally. In order to avoid racking up a huge attorney bill, you need to finish this process as quickly as possible – and that means being willing to compromise with your spouse.
- Get rid of joint accounts. It is smart to eliminate – or at least minimize – the amount of accounts you and your spouse share together. The most crucial reason to do this is to protect you from your spouse’s debts, which helps prevent defaulting on loans or bankruptcy. It also makes the separation of assets and debts far easier.
- Do not overlook any debt or asset. Many people get in financial trouble while divorcing simply because they didn’t have a full understanding of what they own and what they owe. Make sure you know every asset and debt accrued over your marriage. Make a list of all your bank accounts, retirement plans, businesses, and investment funds. Taking every marital asset into account is the best way to ensure they’ll be divided fairly.
- Start looking for a job. If you’re not already working. Before jumping back into the workforce, it would be a good idea to revise your résumé – and ask someone with a current understanding of the job market to give it a read-through. If your spouse supported you during the marriage, you might be able to work out a settlement agreement and receive alimony. Even so, it’s important to plan for the possibility of going back to work. It might not be your ideal scenario, but it will ensure you the independence you need.
- If necessary, involve a professional. If you have a ton of assets or need help with the process, it is best to seek professional help. Hiring someone to sort through your finances can seem costly, but the errors you might make on your own could cost you a whole lot more. A divorce financial planner can help by making strategic recommendations personalized for your budget and situation.
- Open communication is key. It’s never a good idea to hold back financial information. Keep the lines of communication open with your spouse (in order to remain civil) and with your attorney (in order to get the best help possible). Be forthcoming and honest with your attorney because they bill by the hour, and it’s not cheap. Let them know everything well in advance so they can work as efficiently as possible.