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Are You Too Broke to Get Divorced?

The financial implications of your divorce can be substantial and you may think you cannot afford to get divorced.  Friends and relatives may share war stories of losing a significant amount of their savings to their ex, paying unreasonable levels of child support and alimony, and paying exorbitant legal fees.  While the financial reality can be hard to face, staying in an unhealthy marriage can be harmful to you and your children. Being reasonable through the process can also reduce your legal fees and ease the impact of the process on your family.  

Why are you financially scared to get divorced?

  1. Legal fees - every client is always concerned about legal fees which is why we readily share ours so you understand costs and billing (www.ulmerlaw.com/Family-Law-Divorce/Affording-a-Divorce.shtml).  Legal fees in your divorce do not have to be exorbitant.  

  2. Debt - if you have substantial debt from school loans, credit card debt, or a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC), you might be nervous about taking that debt on yourself.

  3. Two households - if money is an issue now, running two households on your current income can seem almost impossible.  A new job, promotion, or promise to stick to a strict budget can help.

So how can you afford to get divorced and keep your head above water?  It is possible to get divorced even with an abysmal financial picture.  If you are being asked for the divorce then it can seem overwhelming, if not impossible.  When we work with you, we will suggest many ideas to help you afford your legal bills and actually build a financial picture for your life.


  1. The number one thing you can do to save yourself money in your divorce is to be reasonable.  If you and your spouse are going to fight over every single issue and involve an attorney each time, then your bills are going to be substantial.  Divide your property, start to talk about your finances and kids and gather your financial paperwork all before visiting with a lawyer.  Do not fight to leave the other person destitute and do not threaten he/she will never see the children. This aggression will cause problems.  

  2. Leave the emotion out of your decisions and negotiations.   It is best to treat our work together as you would a business transaction, leaving all emotion out of it. Be aware that divorce involves your personal life and, especially when talking about your children, it is hard to separate out the emotion.  We can help you put support in place to ensure that your fear, anxiety and sorrow are also dealt with so you can get to the business of getting divorced as quickly as possible.  

  3. Stay out of court. "Having your day in court" may seem like a good idea as you want the judge (and everyone else) to hear how awful your spouse is or you just don't want to agree in order to cause your soon-to-be ex significant pain.  The truth is that going to court in a divorce case is a long process that requires many steps which, in turn, means higher legal bills for preparation and appearances. And, don't forget, the judge will then be making decisions for your family, possibly for the care of your children, and they will be legally binding.

Getting divorced is not easy for most aspects of your life - and your finances are certainly one of them.  Taking a realistic view of your current financial picture, talking with your spouse and agreeing to negotiate will all ease the burden on your wallet.  

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