Divorce can be a stressful and expensive process by using attorneys and separating assets. As couples living together save money through sharing expenses, living as a single person after the divorce is often costlier. These are our top 11 tips for getting the most affordable and inexpensive divorce.
- Consult with an Attorney
As attorneys may be expensive and you may not intend to use one for your entire divorce process, consulting with an attorney on a once off basis at the start of your divorce proceedings may really help you understand all of your options and your rights. Even if the relationship between you and spouse is cordial, divorce proceedings can be tricky to navigate and you could save money in the long run but starting off with a good understanding of the process.
- Apply for a Credit Report
Credit reports show all the accounts which exist in your name individually as well as those which you hold jointly with a spouse. You are able to apply for 3 free credit reports in a year. We recommend you do this to have a good understanding of your financial record as your credit score can be negatively affected by bills which your spouse may have not paid which are in both of your names. By having a recent credit report at the start of proceedings, you can ensure to include any of these bills in the settlement and avoid being left with bills that your spouse should be paying for. You can find more information in this article.
- Manage Joint Accounts
Many married couples will have opened joint accounts throughout the duration of their marriage. When it comes to divorce and the fact that the relations between spouses can be contentious, closing these accounts as soon as you file for divorce is advisable. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, both spouses are equally liable for debt or spending on financial accounts. As your spouse could run up debt on joint accounts, we recommend settling and closing these accounts as soon as you decide to file for divorce. If you think you may have difficulty getting your spouse to close these accounts, you could approach the bank to freeze them in the interim until they conclude proceedings.
- Open up New Bank Accounts in Your Name
If, at the time of your divorce, you do not have a bank account in your own name; it is a good idea to open one now. If keep things simple, we recommend opening an account with a bank completely separate from any joint accounts you may have. When you are still married, before they conclude divorce proceedings, you may be able to access a higher amount of credit in your own capacity. In addition, moving your finances to a separate bank account which you have sole control over, can save you money and peace of mind as your personal finances can now no longer be accessed by your spouse.
- Keep Track of All Finances
At the start of divorce proceedings, we recommend that you make a written note of every penny obtained and related to the marital life with your spouse. While this might feel like an extra and unnecessary step, taking the time to record all your finances will ensure that nothing is omitted from the settlement and that you receive all money and investments because of you. Included in this list could be your 401(k), insurance policies, mortgages, money market accounts, tax returns, and any other financial account or portfolio. Also, read this useful reference to learn more about tracking your finance.
- Track Down all Title Deeds
Whether or not you are planning to get divorced, it is recommended to get both spouse’s name on title deeds for properties that you own together. This is important not only with divorce but also with a spouse’s death. While many states treat all property purchased during the marriage as marital property and belonging to both spouses equally, some laws may vary and depend on how the property was used and whether or not you contributed to it financially. For this reason, play it safe and ensure your name is on all title deeds to avoid losing out on proceeds or revenue generated from the property.
- Change Beneficiaries on your Will and Investments
Updating your will and all financial policies is an important step in saving money in the overall divorce process. While married you may have had the intention for all proceeds or assets in your will to go to your spouse. Similarly, you may insurance policies and stocks which have your spouse listed as the beneficiary should anything happen to you. It is important to note that the beneficiaries listed on insurance and investment policies will override those listed in a while. For this reason, we recommend that you change both your will and all other policies to reflect your wishes now that you will be separating from your spouse.
- Create a Financial Budget
Now that you will be going through a lifestyle change and moving from living on two salaries to one, you will need to know how to budget. Setting a clear household and personal budget will also assist you in negotiating an affordable divorce settlement. It is important to consider all costs which will now be split between you and your spouse such as college tuition, childcare, your own retirement and taxes and any other costs you will now be individually responsible for.
- Educate Yourself
Filing for divorce can be stressful, expensive and a difficult process to navigate. What may remove some of this stress and wasted expense to educate yourself on all the ins and outs of divorce from where to get divorce forms from, how to file divorce papers, what other supporting divorce documents you may need, contested versus uncontested divorces and anything thing else you may need to know. Before you consult with an attorney, having a basic understanding of the process can save you time and money and speed up the entire process. Much of this information is readily available on the internet through websites as divorcenet.com.
- Make use of a Mediator
In the event that you are looking to make your divorce as affordable as possible but are facing challenges of reaching conclusions on the divorce details with your spouse, contact a mediator before consulting with an attorney. Mediators cannot decide on your behalf but they facilitate the process in order to get you and your spouse on the same page. Mediators are a great resource to save time and money during divorces which may have some unresolved disputes over property, finances and family arrangements.
- File for a Divorce Over the Internet
Finally, one easy way to save money on the cost of divorce is to consider filing for divorce online and without an attorney. Although a web divorce may appear to be a strange concept, it has become more popular in recent years with many couples who have simple divorce circumstances choosing this route. While this is not recommended for complex divorce settlements, online divorce can save you a trip to the courthouse as you are able to file your divorce papers online on your local county court’s website. You can follow this link to know more about getting a divorce over the internet.
We hope that these 11 free financial tips on affordable divorce have provided you valuable insights on easy steps you can take to save money during this often costly and financially taxing process.
Disclaimer: This content does not necessarily represent the views of IWB.