How Financially Damaging Is Divorce?
In Pennsylvania, a contested divorce can cost as much as $22,000, and an uncontested divorce can cost between #350 and $1,000. The cost of a divorce not only varies based on how you file (i.e contested vs. uncontested, fault-based vs. no-fault) but also based on what issues you need the court’s help with. For instance, divorces involving children and high assets cost more than a divorce between a couple with no children and no marital assets.
10 Costly Divorce Mistakes That Can Affect Your Financial Health
Your divorce can also be financially damaging if you make any of the following mistakes.
- Assuming litigation is inevitable. Rather than litigate, you and your soon-to-be-ex can file uncontested, which as we mentioned is the cheaper option. With an uncontested divorce, you will have to agree on the terms of your divorce, and while agreeing on alimony, property division, and other important details may seem daunting, you can consider mediation, which is also cheaper than filing contested.
- Not making a post-divorce budget. You should consider what your finances will be once the divorce is finalized. Can you afford the mortgage and home maintenance on your budget alone? Will your income cover your basic living expenses and allow you to maintain the standard of living to which you are accustomed? Failing to consider these questions as well as your post-divorce budget can lead to costly mistakes concerning alimony or child support agreements.
- Not updating your estate plan. You should review and potentially revise your will, powers of attorney, healthcare proxy, guardianship designations, and other estate planning documents; you may want to remove your spouse or in-laws as beneficiaries.
- Ignoring tax implications. You should understand how dividing retirement assets, selling assets outside of your primary residence, and other divorce-related decisions can have tax consequences.
- Not closing joint credit accounts. As we mentioned in our blog, “How Divorce Can Impact Your Credit Scores,” you can suffer financially if you do not close or remove your name from shared loans or credit accounts.
- Acting on emotion. Divorces are emotional processes, but you should avoid making decisions based on your emotions. Making concessions because you feel nostalgic or trying to play hardball because you feel angry won’t help protect your interests or financial future.
- Hiding assets. Whether you hide purchases using Bitcoin or “gift” family with heirlooms or fail to disclose the accurate value of a property, you can face civil and criminal consequences for hiding assets from your spouse and/or the court.
- Not keeping detailed records. You should take notes and ensure you have details records concerning important dates and information as well as communications between you and your partner. For instance, information about the events leading up to your divorce, screenshots of threatening texts, or notes from a conversation you had with a forensic accountant can all help your case.
- Oversharing on social media. Social media can harm more than help your case. Posts or comments can be used by the other party to influence alimony, property division, or child custody/support determinations.
- Dating before the divorce is finalized. While deciding when to date again is entirely up to you, dating before your divorce is final can complicate your case. The opposing party may try to claim you have been unfaithful or wastefully dissipated assets; you may also upset the other party, which can affect their willingness to file uncontested.
High-Quality, Affordable Divorce Services
Getting divorced can be expensive—but it doesn’t have to be. At Cairns Law Offices, we are committed to helping our clients get divorced without breaking the bank. For just $29 as a down payment, you can file an uncontested, no-fault divorce using our Divorce Wizard. You can file for divorce online and avoid having to factor in travel costs and other expenses. We also offer installment payment plans and accept credit and debit cards.
Contact Cairns Law Offices today to get started by calling (888) 863-9115 or reaching out online. Initial consultations are free!