During an uncontested divorce it's easy to let emotions get in the way of making good financial decisions. One of the areas that is often affected by poor planning and emotional outbursts during the divorce process is finances. In addition, not understanding how to successfully navigate these turbulent waters can take you from an otherwise uncontested Pennsylvania divorce with a mutually agreed upon marital settlement agreement, to a contested divorce. This means that you are likely to end up in court and spending thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees. Here are some tips on how to keep your divorce uncontested and save money.
Communicate. Any unwillingness to communicate will only hurt you in the long run. As much as you may dislike your spouse at the moment, swallow your pride and think long term. An unwillingness to talk can quickly make your uncontested divorce into a contested divorce. This means you will more than likely be only communicating through a lawyer, who will charge you for every minute that is put into your divorce case. Keep in mind that an attorney will tend to bill you for the entire minute, even if you only used twenty seconds. Start adding up those minutes, like on your cell phone bill, and by the end you will have a substantial bill.
Take care of your joint accounts and finances, including assets and debts. Figure out how you want to divide your joint marital assets and debts with your spouse. Who will get the house and the cars? Will one spouse be responsible for finishing the car payments, college education or providing health insurance for the other spouse? Failing to work out your financial details and put them in writing with a marital settlement agreement means you may have no legal recourse should your spouse not abide by the agreed terms that you’ve only agree to verbally. Remember, get your divorce settlement agreement in writing.
A marital settlement agreement does not mean everything has to be split equally 50/50. Take a look at your financial situation before the divorce and how life will be after the divorce. To give you an example, if one spouse has been a stay at home parent and has no marketable skills, then s/he may need more of the marital finances or alimony payments to support her/him after the divorce.
The marital settlement agreement should be fair to both parties. Be realistic about how your finances will change after the divorce; remember you are now splitting one household budget into two. Each of you will have to pay for an all of your respective household expenses. Being realistic will help you plan for a sound financial future and realize early on where there may be some strains on your budget.
Marital settlement agreements also provide securityin case a spouse does not comply with his or her end of the agreement. You will not be legally responsible for payments or other financial arrangements your spouse has agreed to in the written settlement. This will also help ensure a more solid credit history.
If you need more information about martial settlement agreements or simple, uncontested, no-fault Pennsylvania divorces, contact Attorney James Cairns for a free consultation at 888.8636.9115.
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