It is estimated that at least 40% of marriages end in divorce. It is possible that many more people would get divorced, but there is one thing stopping them — money. While many couples stay together for the children, some delay divorce because they simply cannot afford it.
The average cost of a divorce is $15,000. While it is possible to opt for a DIY divorce and get it done for less than $1,000, this only works if you have no kids and very few assets. The more complicated your divorce, the more it will cost.
Times are tough, especially nowadays, with people being forced into isolation to prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus. Many Americans have faced job loss. Many cannot pay their rent or buy food. Some will lose their homes and be forced into bankruptcy.
Given this grim situation, is it possible to afford divorce nowadays? Many people save up for things they want to do, such as buy a car or home or go on vacation. You can save up for a divorce, as well. Here are some ways to go about it.
Make Every Penny Precious
Saving is easy if you think of every dollar—even every penny—as precious. You should be constantly thinking of ways to save up for your goal — divorce money. If you receive money as a gift for your birthday, holiday, or other occasion, do not be in a rush to splurge. Instead, put it away in a savings account.
If you work, get another job. Sell things you no longer use. Sock away your tax return or any other unexpected money you might receive.
Get a Budget Together
You will want to know what your expenses are so you can create a budget. This budget will not only keep you on track post-divorce, but it will also be helpful for your lawyer so they can split assets and debts fairly. Do not forget expenses such as household bills (utilities, internet, telephone, etc.), food, transportation, child care, entertainment, clothing and home maintenance. You should also predict future expenses, such as braces for your child, a new car or a vacation.
Do Away With Unnecessary Items
Think about your daily and monthly purchases and find ways to cut back. Can you cook more meals at home? Do you really need to buy Starbucks every morning? Do you really need another pair of shoes?
Think about ways to save on utilities, as well. Are there cheaper cell phone plans you can buy? Do you need to spend $200 a month on cable TV? Think about your needs vs. your wants and you will save money that you can use toward your divorce.
Get a Better Job
If you have not graduated from college, now is the time to do so. College graduates have more job opportunities than those who have just a high school education. Get the skills and education you need so you can get a better job in your current field or in another area altogether.
If you are not working at all, start now. Even if you have kids, a part-time job may be possible. You may even be able to start a business from home or work remotely. Do not rely on your spouse to pay all the bills and earn all the money. This is how many people (particularly women) get stuck in their marriages. They have no escape route because they have no money.
Set Smaller Goals
Telling yourself you will save $15,000 for a divorce can seem like an unattainable goal. That is why you need to set smaller goals. For example, your first may be to save $100 a week. Once you have met that goal, you may want to strive for $200 a week. Do not start out too big or you will set yourself up for failure. Find ways to stay motivated. You may even want to reward yourself with something small (like a candy bar) when you reach your goal. Just do not make the reward so large that it dips into your savings goal.
Consult With a Lawyer or Financial Planner
Before making huge financial changes, you may want to consult with your lawyer. A lawyer can advise you of the steps you should take before a divorce. You may not want to hide your money, since assets will need to be disclosed.
Also, a meeting with a financial planner may be helpful. These experts are knowledgeable of the various ways you can make and save money. They can help you financially plan for a divorce and manage your finances post-divorce, as well.
You can choose your divorce, so avoid costly processes such as litigation. Litigation requires going to court, which increases the cost of a divorce. Instead, opt for mediation. In mediation, you use a third party to help you and your spouse reach an agreement on important decisions such as property division and child custody. Mediation may cost around $5,000, which is cheaper than going to court.
Seek Legal Help
Many people stay in an unhappy marriage much longer than they anticipated simply because of finances. Divorce can be costly, and a person needs ongoing financial support in order to survive on his or her own.
Do not let your finances deter you from getting a divorce. Broward County divorce attorney Scott J. Stadler has more than 30 years of experience dealing with family law matters and can give you the advice you need. To schedule a consultation, contact our office today at (954) 346-6464.