Divorce: How Much Does It Really Cost?

The decision to get a divorce is not something to be taken lightly.  Even in the best of circumstances, a divorce causes major upheaval in the lives of both parties.  One or both spouses have to move. Furniture has to be divvied up. Assets and debts have to be sorted out.  These are the changes that people anticipate when they start searching for a “divorce attorney near me.” But there are often other, unexpected expenses involved too.  These unexpected costs can add up, leaving divorced spouses with a bit of sticker shock at the end of it all. Here are some of the costs of divorce, both expected and unexpected, so that you are not taken by surprise.

Changes in income

If both spouses work, then they are accustomed to supporting their lifestyle with two paychecks.  After the divorce, each spouse will have just one paycheck. Even the person with the bigger paycheck will have a lower income overall.  If only one spouse works and plans to support the other with either alimony or child support, then that single income will not easily support two households.  In either situation, both parties will probably need to change their lifestyle and reduce their spending habits.

Changes in medical benefits

If both spouses are on the same health insurance plan, one will most likely need to obtain new medical benefits.  One family plan typically costs less than two separate, individual plans.

Changes in retirement packages

If the two spouses share retirement accounts, those accounts will need to be separated.  Separating retirement accounts will most likely require fees. With smaller retirement accounts, both spouses may need to work more years in order to retire comfortably.

Cost of childcare

Divorcing parents will almost certainly face increased childcare expenses.  This is especially true when one parent has stayed home with the children and must go back to work.  But even in families where both parents have always worked, childcare costs will probably go up. Parents may now have to place their children in full-time daycare.  They may need to find childcare before school or after school. Even if the standard schedule stays the same, parents may find themselves relying on “occasional use” babysitters more frequently when they no longer have a spouse to share the burden of childrearing.

Custodial agreements

When parents cannot agree on a custodial agreement for the children, the decision may be taken to court.  Child custody battles can cost a lot of money in a divorce. Even when the settlement is not contentious, the custody arrangement itself can be expensive.  If one spouse moves away after the divorce, the children may have to travel regularly to visit the non-custodial parent. The expense of travel can really add up over time.

Divorce Legal Fees

The most obvious up-front costs of a divorce are the legal fees.  All divorces incur some legal fees. Contentious ones can result in even larger fees.  People in the midst of a divorce often feel hurt and angry. These feelings can lead them to drag divorce proceedings out, incurring even more legal fees.

If you are considering getting a divorce, reach out to the Law Office of Paul H Bowen.  He has nearly 30 years of experience in family law matters, including divorce.  He can give you realistic advice as to how much a divorce will really cost. Call today.