Can You Afford a Divorce? (financial issues to be aware of)
Your wedding day can be the happiest day of your marital life–until things change. Like it or not, even the most compatible couples do change over time, and sometimes those changes lead to a Michigan divorce. According to the latest government statistics, 3.1 divorces occurred for every 1,000 American residents for a total of 800,909 divorces nationwide in 2015. While those numbers have fallen drastically over the past decade, they’re still significant. But many people rush into a divorce without understanding the potential financial risks of the decision. That’s not saying you should automatically put yours on hold–especially if you or your kids are in danger or if your mental health is at stake. But there are some issues to be aware of to help decide whether or not you can currently afford a divorce.
Factor In Lawyer Fees
Some divorce clients are lucky enough to get a great deal on lawyer fees and only pay around $50 per hour for their legal services. Others end up hiring a top-notch service with all the bells and whistles and end up being charged closer to $650 per hour. But the average fees run around $250 per hour. That means that the cost of your divorce could average $20,000 with almost $15,000 of that in fees to your Michigan divorce attorney. Of course, there are ways to cut those costs significantly, but going in blind is a sure-fire way to be in debt long after the marital cord’s cut.
Filing Paperwork Isn’t Free
Your initial paperwork may not be costly, and you may even be able to obtain all your documents free of charge. However, filing that paperwork is another matter altogether. Expect to pay at least $250 to submit your initial paperwork and serve it to your spouse. All items must be legally binding and correct on the forms, so it’ll be more efficient and less expensive in the long run to have those forms looked over by a competent Michigan divorce lawyer.
Your Divorce Could Be Contested
Michigan is a no-fault divorce state, but that doesn’t mean your spouse won’t contest the divorce. If the split is amicable, your Michigan divorce can be quick, relatively painless, and financially reasonable. However, the longer one of you fight the proceedings, the more time is added. This adds to the paperwork and legal fees. Always try to settle as much outside of the law office as possible to reduce the final divorce costs.
Where will you live once the divorce is final? Whether staying in the family home, buying another homestead, or renting an apartment, you’ll need a game plan and the savings to back it up. If you’re taking over the marital home, compare taxes and mortgage requirements to the possible benefits of selling the property. And if a rental is on the horizon, you’ll need to consider your credit rating and other living fees beyond the flat rent. Living on a single income can be quite the challenge after years of dual incomes.
Child Support Requirements
If you have kids, you may be legally required to pay child support. This depends on multiple factors, including incomes, number of children, and custodial arrangements. According to the Census Bureau, child support payments average $481 per month nationwide. The additional expense can be tricky on a single income, but it’s required to avoid worrying about potential jail time. A single call to your Michigan divorce attorney can help get the ball rolling on reducing the financial concerns for your Michigan divorce.