Divorce can be expensive, or it can be extremely frugal. In all cases, unless its amicable (which even when it is still strained) most divorced are hard and can be extremely cruel. One of the biggest issues in managing a divorce is constraining your budget. If there is something that can be easily stretched and even destroyed, it’s your financial status and future security.
Essentially, a divorce is a contract, it’s a contract that separates a union, and just like any contract, it has its reasons, its clauses for maintenance and for remedial action. A divorce contract is about how to manage the resources you co-own, how to separate the resources you own as an individual and how to sustain post-divorce obligations, such as child support.
- Tip #1: Legal Advice
- Tip #2: Previous Divorce Records
- Tip #3: Don’t play Dirty
- Tip #4: Don’t listen to Knowitalls
- Tip #5: Shut Up
- Tip #6: Focus on Finance
- Tip #7: Close all Joint Accounts and Sites
- Tip #8: Open a New Bank Account
- Tip #9: Track your Budget
- Tip #10: Create a Forecast
- Tip #11: Take out New Insurance
- Tip #12 Update your Will and Medical Coverage
- Tip #13: Care for your Children
- Tip #14: One Day at a Time
- Tip #15: Get Your Divorce Certificate
- The Bottom Line
Tip #1: Legal Advice
When one side takes a lawyer, it does not mean you need to take a lawyer; it just means that they have professional legal services, and if you want to save money, you might have to spend some money. However, consider this, a divorce is a contract, and it is legally binding, and there are laws, both federal and state as well as local that have a direct impact on your divorce. So, if you want o to save money, get legal advice.
Tip #2: Previous Divorce Records
If your spouse was previously married, you might want to check up on the divorce records. These records tend to shed light on how the last divorce went, also showing what was agreed upon. It gives you an inside into how your soon to be ex. Thinks and acts in this situation.
All divorce records are public, and you can get them at the department of vital records, the office of vital statistics, or registrar, in the county where your divorce case took place. If you cannot find a copy in the county, contact your state department of records or registrar.
Tip #3: Don’t play Dirty
One of the biggest mistakes is to hide assets when entering a divorce. Judges don’t like that ad lawyers love it to make more money trying to uncover what is hidden, which eventually costs you in legal fees. Also, in most cases, both sides know the value of the assets, so hiding will raise eyebrows, questions and a lot of anger.
Tip #4: Don’t listen to Knowitalls
Every divorce is unique because people and situations between people are unique. So if you are getting advice from your best pal, or next door neighbor, don’t take it. You can ask your lawyer about it, but whatever you do, do not become a patsy to hearsay and unsolicited advice.
Tip #5: Shut Up
This is the time to just up and clam up. In a divorce say nothing about it to anyone, consider everyone your enemy, expect your parents. Don’t even tell your kids, since they will tell your soon to be ex. And that will be used against you.
Tip #6: Focus on Finance
Divorce is not about dissolving a wedding; it’s about sharing the spoils of war. Consider your life as a pirate’s life, and over the years you have amassed a treasure. Now your crew wants its split, and if you don’t give it to them, they will end you. This is the same situation; it’s about how to focus on the splitting of the assets in a fair way that makes both side happy. In most cases, both sides are never happy, but at least the lawyer goes home with a smile.
Tip #7: Close all Joint Accounts and Sites
From a bank account to an internet account, from the local gym to the Scouts club, wherever you have a joint account, either close it or separate it.
Tip #8: Open a New Bank Account
Start off by opening a new bank account, and order new credit cards. This is a precautionary matter. Let the other side know, don’t hide it, but make sure all your assets are secured in a new account with new cards. You don’t want your account information and cards to be shared information, which in many cases they are.
Tip #9: Track your Budget
Create an excel file or take a pen to paper and start by writing down all the divorce-related expenses. From driving to a meeting to legal fees. Tracking your budget will show you how much you are spending on the divorce.
Tip #10: Create a Forecast
Now that you have a budget oversight create an expected expenditure, not just for the divorce proceedings, but for the future. If you have joint custody, how will that affect your income and expenditure? Now that you are living in separate homes, how does that affect your cost of living?
Tip #11: Take out New Insurance
If you have life and health insurance, either change it or cancel it and start a new one. Make sure that the only beneficiary of your life insurance is the person that you want to provide for and make sure that all older policies are canceled and are not deducted from your account.
Tip #12 Update your Will and Medical Coverage
Make sure you change your power of attorney, update your medical coverage and power of decision in medical emergencies and also change your will. In most marriages, the spouse has power of attorney, so make sure this is revoked in writing.
Tip #13: Care for your Children
If you have children, make sure you cover them and make sure your ex also covers them, this is a joint decision that assures your children will get any payouts from retirement accounts, insurance policies, and wills.
Tip #14: One Day at a Time
Remember, divorce is not a walk in the park, you might feel strained during, and elated after. However, once the effects have worn off, you will find returning to civilization has its standard issues. You are now living alone (or with someone else) you need to consider your sources of income, and your livelihood. Life continues, with or without your consent.
Tip #15: Get Your Divorce Certificate
Once you are divorced, make sure you have a copy of your divorce certificate, you will need it to remarry.
The cost of divorce (average cost across America) is between $15,000 to $20,000. The cost is not in the filing fee per state, which varies from around $435 in California to $70 in Wyoming. The cost comes from your lawyers hourly billing that is averaged at $417/hr in Connecticut to $162/hr in North Dakota.
The longer you draw out the divorce, the more hours you place on your lawyer, the costlier it becomes.
So, the final tip is this: If you can come to a joint agreement, and split the assets before filing for divorce. If you can take a finalized copy of an agreement between yourselves and the blueprint for your lawyers, this would speed up the process. Remember, lawyers like to make problems so that their fees go up, one of their biggest assets is their ability to weave words and make you feel like a sucker. Don’t buy into it. If you have already sat down with your partner and prepared a document, make sure this is the foundation.
The Bottom Line
Divorce is about splitting assets, splitting the time with children, and starting a new lifestyle individually. Unless you are a pirate, this is not a situation you should blindly rush into, and when you do enter it, take careful, methodical steps, with legal advice.