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8 Divorce Hacks that Will Save You Time & Money
Once you make the hard but important decision that you’re going to get a divorce, one of the first things you have to face is the inevitable cost. And I’m not talking in the more esoteric sense of the term “cost” (like the emotional cost or interpersonal cost) I’m talking about two important resources: time and money. The latter is renewable the former is not. At the outset I make it clear to clients that I would rather you put YOUR children through college than mine.
Contrary to the beliefs of some, divorce attorneys do exist for a reason: even with the best of intentions, people who are divorcing often aren’t fully aware of the ins and outs of the law, including what rights you have. Divorce isn’t just about dividing up “stuff”–it’s also about thinking through your own future (for example, retirement), ensuring your children are provided for, and creating fair divisions of assets that aren’t easily divided up.
The truth is, by the time you decide to divorce, often that decisions is directly related to an inability to negotiate productively within the marriage. If there’s an unequal distribution of power in the relationship, if there’s a lack of trust on either side, or if there’s simply an inability to understand one another or see eye to eye, the possibility of amicably and fairly disengaging from each other is usually slim to non-existent becomes almost impossible. Whether you like the idea of a divorce attorney or not, you might need one. (Luckily, a lot of us are actually nice people.)
On that note, here are my tips for keeping the legal aspects of your divorce as simple as possible, thus saving me time and you money.
Write down your goals.
Not only does writing down your goals help you figure out what you really want and need out of this process, it also is there as a reminder in case you lose your bearings. Everyone–and by that I mean everyone–gets emotional during a divorce, at some point. Having concrete goals helps you keep your s*** together. I tell clients all the time there are three things you should identify at the start of a divorce: what you need, what you want and what you’re entitled to. (It’s worth noting that that second thing is typically informed by that third thing).
Familiarize yourself with the family finances.
One of the biggest shocks for many people, male and female spouses alike, is how little we pay attention to the flow of incomings and outgoings. Spend a week or more using your spare time to go over your bank statements, bills, taxes, 401(k)s, insurance policies, and so on. Have all the documents on hand in case we need them, and make copies of the crucial stuff. If you don’t have access to a copier use a handy app like Scannable or Evernote (I use both all the time in my personal and professional life).
Review everything your spouse reports.
Even with the best of intentions, mistakes can be made (on either side). People also lie like crazy sometimes when they’re getting divorced. Review everything your spouse reports to make sure your reports line up.
Close joint accounts.
Any purchases made from joint accounts can create problems during the divorce, and you could end up paying for stuff you didn’t buy or spending tons of money in legal fees trying to “sort out” what was pre-divorce and what was post-divorce. Keep it simple. Close the joint accounts. . The simplest thing is just to close them. Online accounts, too: chances are you’ve logged into your email account from your spouse’s phone, laptop or iPad, or vice versa; privacy is important now. Change passwords or close them down. PLEASE NOTE, however, that you should either: (A) let your spouse know you’re doing this before you do it (so they don’t panic and think you’re raiding the piggy bank; or (B) take only HALF of the money in the account and let your spouse know that you’ve left the remaining half in there for his or her sole and separate use.
Figure out how much money you need.
“Need” is a subjective term, but let’s think about it this way: what is the amount of money that will allow you to live comfortably until and through your retirement, taking into account your lifestyle and your existing annual income? This is your goal going into the divorce.
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We would recommend that couples should contact us for advice at the Law Office of Alice Pare at 301-515-1190 or visit our website at: https://www.alicelaw.com
Do not at any time take the risky move of going at it alone. We have a wide choice when it comes to going it alone but with the professional advice you will need.