If you’re considering a divorce, you probably know the process costs money. At a minimum, you can expect to pay court and filing fees for the privilege of ending your marriage. However, there are many other costs above and beyond legal expenses that you may not anticipate from the process.
Some of these unexpected divorce-related expenses are unavoidable, but not all. Taking a collaborative approach to your divorce can help you reduce your split’s financial impact and set you and your spouse up for a smoother transition to single life.
Beyond Court Costs: The Price Tag for Moving On
Legal fees are rarely the most expensive part of ending your marriage. It’s the little things that add up. Some of the most costly parts of getting divorced include the following:
You and your spouse are unlikely to want to live together after your split is final, so housing is a critical issue. If you own a home, you can face unexpected costs whether you sell or keep the property. Transferring the title involves paying a fee, and selling incurs various closing costs.
Renters are not immune, either. You may be forced to choose between paying for a too-big space, breaking your lease, and losing your deposit. In addition, housing for one person is more expensive than housing for two people.
When you no longer live with your spouse, you no longer benefit from splitting many costs. You may need to purchase your own insurance policy, phone plan, and other subscriptions or policies. These services are often more expensive for one person than for two. In some cases, closing shared accounts may also incur cancellation fees
Furthermore, as with housing, any other property you have with a title must be officially transferred and the appropriate fee paid to the new owner. This includes vehicles, boats, vacation homes, and anything else with a title or registration.
If you and your spouse have cosigned any loans, it may be necessary to refinance them to reassign ownership. For example, many lenders require homeowners to refinance mortgages if they want to remove someone from the loan after a divorce.
Refinancing these loans may or may not be beneficial in the long run. Occasionally, it may allow you to reduce the overall amount of interest you’ll pay, but not always. In some cases, removing your spouse from a loan may reduce your creditworthiness and increase your interest rate. Furthermore, refinancing almost always involves paying closing costs.
Depending on your finances, getting divorced could significantly alter your tax burden for the year. If you earned substantially more than your spouse, you likely received the “marriage benefit,” where married couples are taxed at a lower rate for their joint income. If you’re unprepared for the change, you may face an unexpected and painful tax bill next year.
Preparing for the Financial Impact of Divorce
The most effective way to avoid unexpected costs during a divorce is by working with a skilled divorce attorney. Your lawyer will help you identify the biggest potential expenses you may face and determine the best way to mitigate them.
One solution your attorney may recommend is collaborative divorce. In a collaborative dissolution, you, your spouse, and your respective attorneys work together to draft a divorce settlement that satisfies both of you. During this process, you can negotiate issues like:
- Who will take on loans and the associated refinancing costs
- How housing will be handled, and who will be responsible for any related expenses
- How accounts should be divided to minimize extra costs
- When the divorce should be finalized to reduce tax penalties
By working together, you have control over these considerations that may not be available if you go to court. As such, you’re less likely to face unexpected costs once your divorce is finalized.At Bergman Family Law, our skilled attorneys are focused on helping families achieve fair solutions for divorces and other disputes. We have over a decade of experience helping Miami and Broward County couples resolve their divorces without unnecessary expenses. Learn more about how we can help you by scheduling your consultation today.