Even the strongest relationships between the most caring partners can reach its limits and eventually end under the pressure of different life circumstances. Your marital vows no longer ensure that you will live happily ever after. When a couple pronounces the words “till death do us part,” very few expect that their marriage will end for some reason other than the death of their partner. Sometimes, when faced with lengthy conflicts and quarrels, divorce is the only possible way to break the deadlock.
For most of our history, eternal and indissoluble marriage was never a real thing. Forms of divorce changed with the development of civilization, historical progress, the establishment of national traditions, and evolving attitudes towards women. Currently, in many states, marriage law defines divorce as a procedure in which there is no plaintiff or defendant. In this case, it is enough to indicate that the marriage can no longer exist because of irreconcilable differences between the spouses. Although this approach excludes the accusations and the assigning of blame, it does not eliminate the various negative emotions and other consequences that both parties experience afterward.
Along with emotional distress, a divorce process inevitably brings considerable financial losses.
How do you protect yourself from substantial expenses during the divorce?
Many spouses who are seeking a divorce want to know the fastest and most inexpensive way to do it. Most of them are trying to separate as quickly as possible to save money and start a new life. But by doing so, they may forget to pay adequate attention to important aspects of the marriage dissolution process.
It is impossible to clearly state the amount of money that a divorce will cost. Financial expenses vary in each given situation. Several factors can have an impact on the cost of your divorce, including state laws, your current financial condition, and whether you can reach an agreement with your spouse.
Here are 5 simple and effective tips on how to survive a divorce financially.
1. Agree to cooperate with your spouse.
The best possible situation for the spouses would be to sit at the negotiating table and come to a general agreement on all aspects of the upcoming divorce that will satisfy both parties.
Although the divorce procedure is not uniform throughout the country, and the final decision is up to a judge, the parties can still resolve conflicts peacefully and without a court trial. Such a path is always more desirable since it allows you to avoid additional costs and save time.
For example, if the spouses are able to peacefully resolve issues regarding the division of property, the agreement is submitted to the court for consideration at a court hearing. The judge will ask the parties a number of questions to ensure that the agreement is voluntary and that both parties accept its terms. If there are no reservations expressed by either party, the agreement is likely to be approved by the judge.
2. Prepare divorce papers without a lawyer.
Most married couples have no idea about the divorce procedure until they have to deal with it. Certain predefined steps must be taken to dissolve a marriage. The first step is to prepare and file divorce documents to the court.
This paperwork is not as complicated as it might seem at first glance. You actually have a few options to get the required divorce forms. You can hire a lawyer, you can search for them on your own, or you can use an online divorce service.
The first option is the most expensive. The cost of a lawyer often depends on the number of working hours they spend on the case. Lawyers usually charge between $200-250 per hour. If you choose this option, there will be no hope of surviving a divorce without taking a big hit financially.
Finding the list of documents on your own is obviously the cheapest option, but it can be very time-consuming. And if you overlook something important or make a mistake, it can have long-term consequences that could end up being costly in the long run.
The third option of preparing for the divorce over the Internet is a safe and easy compromise. It’s much cheaper than hiring a lawyer and much less time-consuming than doing it yourself. These days, this is a very popular option and there are lots of online divorce services to choose from.
It is important to bear in mind, however, that most online services only help with the paperwork in cases of uncontested divorce with no serious issues related to child custody or support.
3. Create a plan of action.
It is crucial to communicate with your spouse so that you can schedule a time to meet. Draw up a general plan of issues that you would like to discuss with your spouse for when you do meet. Develop in detail the aspects that are associated with each specific topic. For example, if you are considering the appropriate amount of child support, remember to include money for the proper education of your children in the future. Be sure to focus on their financial security. On average, in the United States, child support is 15-20% of the parent’s income, but this does not include additional unplanned expenses.
Spousal support is also an issue to consider when discussing finances. For example, if the wife did not work while married, the husband will pay her alimony until she receives the education or training she needs so that she can find a job. One of the arguments used in the appointment of maintenance is the loss of skills that are necessary to get a job. The amount of spousal support is calculated differently in each state.
Elaborate on the issues of dividing property and real estate. Remember that sharing assets in equal parts is by no means mandatory. The property is divided exactly in half in only nine states – Alaska, Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin, and Puerto Rico. Therefore, you should compile a full list of assets and financial liabilities to ensure its fair division.
A well-written plan will help you to be focused on the essential points during negotiations with your spouse.
4. Discuss in detail all the terms of your agreement.
Sometimes a divorce reveals the most unpleasant sides of the people involved. Your primary task is to set aside anger and remain calm to move on with your life and take care of yourself and your children. Therefore, learn to manage emotions when negotiating with your spouse. Discuss all the necessary questions, and try not to miss anything. The plan you created beforehand will be of benefit here.
If you find it difficult to be calm next to your ex-spouse, you can discuss some of the issues by phone. Remember that you are building the financial foundation of your future life, so be focused. This will allow you to distribute the property and other assets properly.
5. Opt for mediation.
If tiresome negotiations with your spouse did not result in an agreement, it is better to use the services of a mediator.
Mediation is often used for the settlement of family disputes, such as division of property, custody of children, and spousal support. A neutral and impartial third party can help you, and your spouse discusses the differences and reach an agreement.
Even though mediation is a voluntary procedure, it is highly favored by the US legal system. This procedure is not free of charge, but the price is quite low when compared to a long drawn-out court battle. In most cases, mediation helps to quickly solve conflicts with minimal negative emotions.
Divorce is a necessary measure if a marriage has become unbearable and only causes pain and stress. Only you can decide whether your marriage dissolution will become a battlefield, involving children and relatives, or if you will go through all the tribulations of divorce confidently and with dignity.