Divorce can be emotionally and financially challenging, and one of the biggest concerns people have is how to finance the process. From filing and attorney fees to establishing separate households, the costs can quickly add up.
Knowing how to pay for divorce is particularly tricky because most people don’t necessarily plan for a divorce and, as result, likely don’t have a special bank account where they’ve been saving up for a divorce. This can leave you feeling stuck in a tight corner.
For anyone scratching their head and wondering how to pay for a divorce, we have some answers. Here’s a look at how you can cover the cost of divorce while still keeping an eye on your long-term (post-divorce) financial health.
How Much Does Divorce Cost?
We’ll start with the crummy news — getting a divorce, already a difficult experience, is also expensive. While the cost varies depending on where you live and the complexity of the divorce, the average cost of a divorce in the U.S ranges between $15,000 and $20,000. That said, a simple DIY divorce could run a lot less (as little as $200). A complicated divorce (with disagreements around child custody or dividing up property), on the other hand, could run well over $100,000. Gulp.
Factors that can affect the cost of a divorce include:
• The state where the divorce takes place
• Whether the couple lives in an urban or rural area
• Whether it is contested or uncontested
• Whether or not you hire professional legal help
• The complexity of the couple’s finances
• Whether or not there are child custody issues involved
How Do I Pay for My Divorce?
Ideally, every individual, couple, and family would have some emergency money set aside to cover unforeseen events. While many aren’t thinking the money would be for a divorce, that could qualify as an unexpected expense.
If you don’t have much, or any, rainy day savings, here are some steps that can help you manage the cost of your divorce.
• Create a budget A good place to start is to assess your financial situation and create a realistic budget for your divorce. Take a look at your income, expenses, and any debts you may have. This will help you determine how much you can allocate towards your divorce costs, find areas where you may be able to cut costs, and develop a strategy to finance your divorce.
• Negotiate with your spouse If possible, see if you can reach an amicable agreement with your spouse regarding the division of assets and paying expenses. This can help reduce legal fees and minimize the overall cost of the divorce process.
• Explore mediation Mediation is a cost-effective alternative to traditional divorce litigation. A neutral mediator helps facilitate discussions between you and your spouse, allowing you to work together to reach mutually agreeable solutions. Mediation can often be less expensive and less time-consuming than going to court.
Borrow From Friends and Family
If you need some financial assistance to cover the costs of your divorce, reaching out to friends and family is one option to consider. Loved ones who understand your situation may be willing to lend you money to help you through this challenging time.
You’ll want to approach borrowing from friends and family with caution, however. You want to be sure that you’ll be able to pay the money back and clearly communicate that you intend to repay the money. Also be sure to discuss any expectations or terms, and ensure that the arrangement is legally documented to avoid misunderstandings or strain on personal relationships.
Recommended: Am I Responsible for My Spouse’s Debt?
Is a Personal Loan a Good Option to Pay for Divorce?
Another option to finance your divorce is to consider a personal loan.
Personal loans are often unsecured (meaning you don’t have to put up an asset as collateral) and can be used for a variety of purposes, including legal costs. They can provide you with the necessary funds to cover divorce-related expenses while allowing you to make manageable monthly payments over a fixed period, typically three to five years.
If you have good to excellent credit, a personal loan can be a better choice than using a credit card for your divorce costs, since rates are typically lower. A personal loan may also allow you to borrow a larger amount than your current credit card limit allows. Personal loans also come with fixed monthly payments, which can be easier to budget for.
Before applying for a personal loan for your divorce however, you’ll want to consider the annual percentage rates (APRs) and repayment terms offered by different lenders. Be sure to carefully assess your ability to repay the loan to avoid adding further financial stress during and after the divorce process.
Putting Your Financial Health First
While it’s crucial to address the immediate financial challenges of a divorce, it’s equally important to prioritize your long-term financial health. Here are some tips to help you navigate this process.
• Protect your credit Divorce can have a significant impact on your credit score. To minimize the impact, you’ll want to be sure to close joint accounts and establish individual accounts. Be sure to also monitor your credit report regularly to ensure accuracy and address any issues promptly.
• Update legal and financial documents It’s a wise idea to review and update your will, insurance policies, retirement accounts, and other legal and financial documents to reflect your new circumstances. You’ll also want to update beneficiaries and ensure your assets are distributed according to your wishes.
• Focus on rebuilding After the divorce, take steps to rebuild your financial stability. Set financial goals, create a savings plan, and consider ways to increase your income or reduce expenses. Building a solid financial foundation will help you regain control of your life and prepare for the future.
Recommended: Budgeting Tips for Life After Divorce
Financing a divorce can be a challenging task, but with careful planning and consideration, it is possible to navigate this process successfully. Key steps include assessing your financial situation, exploring various options such as negotiation and mediation, and, if needed, borrowing from friends and family or getting a personal loan to help cover the costs of the divorce.
If you are thinking about taking out a loan to finance a divorce, a SoFi unsecured personal loan could be a good option. SoFi personal loans offer competitive, fixed rates and a variety of terms. Checking your rate won’t affect your credit score, and it takes just one minute.
See if a personal loan from SoFi is right for you
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Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.