Can You Afford to Get Divorced?

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Can You Afford to Get Divorced?

It's a question heard more often during these less than stellar economic times. Some think of divorce as freedom, a fresh start or self-empowerment, but no positive spin can eliminate the harsh truth. When you get a divorce, your income doesn't increase, but your expenses do.

If you are considering divorce because you are fighting about money more than ever, how much to spend and save, how to pay the mortgage, where to look for a job, etc., then you cannot afford to get divorced. Those types of conflicts will increase during the divorce process and afterward. A divorce cannot solve them.

If you can barely afford one household, how will you afford two?

If you have kids, they will probably need rooms and furniture in both homes. As a couple you will have to pay two rents, two heating and air conditioning bills and two phone bills. In all likelihood, also two car insurance bills, two cable bills and two grocery bills (which may not double your current grocery bill but will certainly be more than prior to a separation). You've got twice the expenses, but not twice the income.

The spouse earning less or staying at home with kids will want to receive a certain amount of support, but the partner will say that he or she doesn't have it. No lawyer or judge can invent money out of thin air. In today's economy the pot is smaller and divorce shrinks it further.

It's a tough reality to grasp. Divorce makes a lot of things harder, from finances to co-parenting. If you disapprove of your partner's parenting style, what's going to happen when he or she parents for two or more days a week without even being present to see what's happening? Will you feel better or worse?

Separating is not an answer to the parenting problem.

What I'm talking about is the reality for many couples, but there are times when finances and parenting skills have nothing to do with the decision to divorce. If there is physical or emotional abuse in your relationship, then being poorer financially is much better than being poorer in body and spirit.

Before deciding to get divorced, figure out your expenses. New York State court system offers on-line forms to help you. The net worth form will help you determine your income and expenses. Recognize that your spouse will have his or her list of expenses too.

Whatever you decide to do, it's important to realize that fighting doesn't end with a divorce, it merely creates different fights. If conflict is the main problem in your marriage, then get professional help rather than rushing to a divorce. Put in the time and energy and make a real commitment to finding a way to make your marriage work, for better or worse.

Additional sources of information:

Questions You Should Answer if You Are Considering a Divorce

5 Ways to Get a Divorce: From Economical to Expensive

How to Keep the Expense of Divorce Down

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