When considering the path to divorce, it is common to feel a sense of tunnel vision in which you only think about two things – how you will split your assets and what will a lawyer cost? Unfortunately, there are quite a few other costs to consider before starting the divorce process. Beyond paying your attorney, you will need to set aside money for fees assigned by the court. Depending on your specific situation, the judge may rule that you owe alimony, child support, or shared debt payoff in addition to splitting your current assets. If you plan for these expenses ahead of time, you will better be able to financially rebound from divorce.
Even before you file your paperwork, it is wise to save up for the legal retainer. You’ll want your lawyer on your side early in the process to prevent costly missteps. Make sure you interview several lawyers to find an experienced professional with fees in your budget range.
The courthouse does not provide its services for free. You must pay a fee to file paperwork, complete mitigation appointments, and have your case heard in court. Most of these court fees are paid upfront before you can receive the service in question.
Alimony, or spousal support, allows your former partner to stay afloat financially while learning how to function outside of the marriage. The judge will often order alimony if you have provided full financial support to your spouse during the marriage. You must pay the ordered amount monthly, until the given end date to stay in compliance with the court ruling.
If your spouse receives joint or full custody, you may need to pay child support to help pay for expenses related to feeding, educating, and caring for your children. The award amount is usually based on your income level and number of kids to support. If you do not make these payments on time, you may lose visitation rights or be held in contempt of court.
Unless you have a detailed prenuptial agreement, all shared assets will need to be split down the middle during the divorce. If the assets are in the form of physical property, you may need to sell the buildings, vehicles, or other items you’ve acquired and then split the proceeds with your former spouse.
Like assets, you must split debts owed together to keep the divorce from financially decimating a single party. You may need to pay off the shared debts with the liquidated assets before splitting the remainder.
Properly planning for the financial burden of divorce will help mitigate the money woes you may suffer throughout the process. Your lawyer can help you plan out the expenses to stay one step ahead throughout this trying process.