Divorce may be either amicable or contested, but it is rarely inexpensive. While most people understand that divorce comes at a price, its cost is not always transparent. Without the right preparation, separation could force New York couples to the brink of financial ruin.
Accounting for the Hidden Costs of Divorce
Divorce is never easy, even when both partners agree that their differences are irreconcilable and that separation is in their interests. Even with the right legal representation, divorce can present unexpected financial challenges—challenges that go beyond the costs of a competent attorney, alimony, and child support.
These hidden costs of divorce could include the following:
You and your partner may have owned a home, rented an apartment, or leased a condominium. One way or another, it is very likely that you—or your partner—will soon be searching for new accommodation.
Perhaps needless to say, in a city like New York, moving can be incredibly expensive. Even if you find a fairly priced apartment, you may still be on the hook for your first and last month’s rent, a security deposit, and parking.
Taking Out a New Mortgage
If you co-own a home with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, you may have to renegotiate your mortgage, even if you plan on remaining in the residence. You may need to reconfigure your budget to accommodate larger payments, alongside property tax and general upkeep.
Refurnishing Your Home
Whether you are moving or staying at home, your spouse could lay claim to their share of your appliances, furniture, and decorations.
When you are negotiating the terms of your divorce, consider both what you need to take and what you can afford to leave behind.
If you were a homemaker or self-employed, there is a chance you may have relied on your spouse’s health insurance coverage. Even if you already have a comprehensive policy, your spouse’s plan might have provided better benefits.
Depending on your circumstances, you could find yourself in the market for a new health insurance plan—a plan that might cost hundreds of dollars per month for basic coverage with high co-pays and big deductibles.
A contentious divorce can incur significant expenses, especially if you make any of the following mistakes:
- Hiring the wrong attorney. Hiring a divorce attorney who is more interested in giving you what you want than offering a realistic assessment of your case.
- Arguing on ideological lines. Your spouse might be unequivocally at-fault for the divorce, but that does not mean that your negotiations should be contingent on your sense of right and wrong. If, for example, your partner was not faithful, you might demand sole custody of your children. However, your spouse’s misconduct will not necessarily sway the court to your side in the absence of any additional evidence.
- Trying to take your claim to trial. Some divorce cases need to go to trial—but most do not. Statistically, the majority of divorces end in mediation rather than a dramatic showdown. While going to trial might present your best opportunity to secure a fair settlement, you should always speak to your attorney and explore your best options before committing to a decision.
Everybody might make mistakes, but you do not have to: an experienced Brooklyn, New York, divorce attorney could help you appraise the hidden costs of divorce and assess your best options for an expedient and fair divorce.