The expenses related to divorce can significantly fluctuate based on various elements. These include your location, the duration of your marriage, and whether you opt for legal separation or divorce. However, generally, to obtain a court decree terminating your marriage, you’ll need to engage a lawyer and furnish a retainer fee. The filing fee requirement is also possible, depending on the jurisdiction.
Numerous aspects can also elevate the financial burden of a divorce beyond the fundamental amount. These include continuous legal charges, disputes over child custody, alimony payments, division of assets, and other expenses tied to the termination of a marriage. Here are seven primary factors that may cause an increase in divorce costs.
Rushing the Process
Many individuals undergoing a divorce hope to expedite the process, mainly when instances of physical, emotional, or financial abuse are present. However, hastily concluding a divorce can result in an inequitable distribution of assets, leaving the more vulnerable party at a disadvantage.
One individual might exploit the other’s eagerness to finalize matters swiftly, persuading them to accept less than what they’re entitled to and without necessary support for a fresh start. Marriage inherently involves a complicated legal and logistical fusion of assets, which can be challenging to unravel. Once personal safety is secured, it’s crucial to correctly identify and accurately assess all shared assets and liabilities with professional assistance.
Choosing the Wrong High-Asset Attorney
Family law attorneys possess different beliefs, characters, and methods for managing high-net-worth divorces. Only some divorce lawyers have expertise in dealing with high-value cases, too. If you are a client with substantial assets, evaluate your attorney before proceeding with them, just like any other professional.
If you’re dissatisfied with your current family attorney, the positive news is that engaging a new one is always possible. Legal eagle and entrepreneur Kristen Marcroft is known for her candor and fearless approach. She specializes in divorce cases and estate planning and is always ready to discuss your case, no matter what phase of the divorce process you are currently navigating.
Not Being Completely Transparent with Your Lawyer
The absence of honesty can harm the relationship between a lawyer and their client, potentially leading to wasted time and increased costs. For instance, having a criminal record can significantly impact a divorce or child custody case, so be transparent about this from the beginning. It’s not beneficial for your attorney to be caught off guard and spend extra time rectifying the situation in court.
Another delicate topic is infidelity. While it may not play a significant role in most modern divorces, there are instances where it can greatly influence the outcome. Suppose you treated your new partner to a lavish trip to Vegas. If your spouse presents the receipts in court, this could lead to you receiving a smaller portion of the marital assets due to the perceived squandering of resources on an extramarital affair.
Always be straightforward about current relationships and when they commenced. Your lawyer isn’t asking these questions out of idle curiosity; there is always a legitimate legal motive behind them.
Don’t Let Emotions Control the Process
Be civil and emotionally neutral with your spouse when discussing emotions, and do not let feelings dominate your choices. In cases involving considerable assets, one spouse might need to be financially capable of maintaining the marital home after the divorce. Conversely, this could also be a stumbling block preventing a spouse from emotionally progressing post-divorce.
It might be difficult to completely dismiss emotions like anger, guilt, resentment, and fear, but tackling your high-net-worth divorce with a clear head and a logical, rational strategy can aid in achieving an equitable settlement. A skilled attorney specializing in high-net-worth divorces offers invaluable guidance throughout the legal proceedings.
Managing Your Divorce Proceedings
Unsurprisingly, lawyers specializing in family law often discourage the idea of navigating a divorce on your own. Their point is valid despite the potential financial benefits they could reap from such advice.
Tackling your divorce equates to juggling intricate legal and financial issues without the expertise required. The results will greatly impact your finances and future. Your judgment may be clouded due to the emotional turmoil and stress brought about by the divorce process.
Utilizing Retirement Funds to Aid in Meeting Living Expenses
Despite the cost of divorce depending significantly on factors like your chosen divorce lawyer, your location, and the duration of the process, one fact remains constant: Divorce is often a costly affair, leaving many individuals in desperate need of immediate funds.
In these situations, people frequently consider their retirement reserves, such as an IRA or 401(k), viable sources for quick cash. However, withdrawing or borrowing from these savings can be a grave financial error.
When you extract funds from a retirement scheme, that money ceases to generate profits. It’s no longer accruing interest. Even if you replenish the same amount later, you lose out on the interest that could have been earned during that period, adversely affecting your long-term financial stability. Premature retirement savings withdrawals can often result in tax consequences. You’ll likely incur a 10% penalty tax on the withdrawal and income tax on the withdrawn amount.
Maintaining Active Joint Accounts
Following your divorce, keep anything other than your children separate from your ex-spouse. This encompasses bank accounts, credit cards, and loans. If your ex-spouse is a registered user on any of your credit cards, removing them immediately is essential to avoid potential financial liabilities.
In the case of joint debts such as a co-signed personal or auto loan, dividing it becomes more complex. It is not simply requesting the lender to erase one of you from the debt. More often than not, refinancing the loan under a single name is necessary.
The same goes for shared mortgage payments. If the family home wasn’t sold during the divorce, you and your ex-spouse must refinance the loan. This enables only one person to be accountable for the mortgage.
When it comes to bank accounts, they are usually divided and closed as part of your settlement. Alternatively, you can split the account balance as soon as you decide to divorce and close the account promptly. Regardless of your choice, ensure your ex-spouse no longer has access to your rightful assets.
Should you find yourself pondering over your finances after the finalization of your divorce, rest assured, you’re not the only one. The transition to singlehood often brings new financial challenges and may seem harder to balance the books. It’s easy to consider hasty financial strategies like drawing from retirement funds or liquidating assets.
However, the secret to maintaining financial stability post-divorce is composedness. Educate yourself about the changes your life will undergo following your divorce before making any financial decisions. Seek guidance from your divorce attorney and a financial specialist, such as a certified financial planner, to assist in crafting an economic blueprint for your life after divorce.