Can I Afford This Divorce?

My marriage is over, but these days, who can afford to move out?

Today, with the economy being the way it is, it turns out that in lieu of divorce, many couples simply choose to live together anyway.

The reason is that they believe they cannot afford to divorce and they choose to live together for financial reasons. After all, who today, can afford to keep up two residences? So, what can you do?

Not only is breaking up hard to do, but it’s expensive. A survey taken a few years ago by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers “found that in rotten economic times, divorce rates take a dive.”

In addition, with nearly one in five homes worth less than what’s owed on it, couples are forced to remain living together under the same roof since moving out is becoming a financial impossibility for many. How does one cope with this type of situation?

If abuse isn’t an issue, with a little amount of planning, a couple can live together, but separately, under one roof. First, ground rules must be set. Perhaps a neutral third party can help with that. As yourself the following questions:

  • Will you keep family dinners or eat separately?
  • Who will do the chores, cooking, cleaning?
  • Who will attend to the children? Take them to school, pick them up?
  • What are the actual living arrangements?

Once those questions are answered and handled, discuss your daily expenses. Do you want to keep your joint bank accounts or open separate ones? You must decide on how you will pay monthly household bills including the mortgage. Discuss other monthly expenses – expenses to keep the house running and your children fed, clothed and taken care of.

Credit is another story. Shred those joint cards and get new ones in your name only. If there is a balance involved, and you cannot afford to pay it off, ask the bank to freeze the account so neither party can charge anymore.

Now, if you just can’t live with your soon-to-be ex-spouse and want to divorce, live without him or her, but don’t think you can afford it, there are things you can do to minimize the effect of divorce:

  • Attempt to fill out the divorce forms on your own
  • Find someone who can put a value to your assets
  • Ask a realtor for an estimate on what your home is valued at
  • You can probably find an online child support calculator – determine what the support will be that you receive or have to pay
  • Look for alternative dispute resolution techniques

You have options. Try to resolve as many family issues as possible with your spouse. This will reduce your attorney’s billable hours and your overall expenses. This may seem a challenge, but it can be done with a little work and a little planning.

If you still have unanswered questions regarding a divorce, contact the family law offices of Holstrom, Block & Parke for the answers and the options you have before you. We are conveniently located in Riverside, San Bernardino and Orange Counties.

Call us and speak to an attorney the consultation is free and confidential, or visit us online and submit our contact form.

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