Financial Considerations in Divorce

Posted on Jan 17, 2013 by Katie Carter

If you’re considering divorce, it’s a good idea to look at your overall financial picture before you make any big decisions. It’s no secret that, for the past several years, the economy has been pretty bleak–causing many people’s careers to flounder, their homes and retirement accounts to lose value. Can you afford to get a divorce? Sometimes, financial considerations cause couples to stay together, rather than face dividing everything in divorce. Here are some things to consider as you move forward:

  1. How much debt do we have? Can I pay my share by myself?

Think about everything from your credit cards to your student loans. How much will you likely be left with in a divorce? Would you be able to pay for your share on your own, without your husband’s contribution? Chances are, if your debt is difficult to pay now with both incomes, it’s going to be doubly difficult after you separate your finances.

2. What could you get from the house?

It used to be that most couples had equity in their marital home. These days, the housing market has taken a big hit, and houses are often more of a liability than an asset. Can you afford to sell the house now? If you do, will you get what you have paid into it, or would you take a loss? Is it underwater? Do you want to stay in the house? If you are on your own, could you afford the mortgage? Do you expect him to take it? Can he afford it? The last thing you want is to take a major hit on the house, and then have to pay more rent or another mortgage somewhere else.

3. How much will I get in child support?

If you expect to be the primary physical custodian of the children, it’s going to cost you. Child support guidelines are not overly generous, and many parents find that it’s hard to make ends meet. Any additional expenses that the kids incur–especially for extracurriculars–will have to come out of your already low child support, or you’ll have to cover the extra yourself.

These questions are only designed to give you an idea of what you can expect if you decide to move forward with your divorce. Ultimately, only you can make that decision. It’s a difficult decision that should not be undertaken lightly, and financial considerations are only one part of the total package. If you’re miserable, you may find that you’ll be able to live a happier, more successful, more independent life if you get divorced. Finances are only one part of the equation.