Attorney’s fees are often only part of the equation when it comes to calculating how much a divorce really costs. Of course, attorney’s fees ARE party of the equation, especially in a case where the parties fight for years and years on end. In a case where parties are able to reach an agreement sooner, attorney’s fees are considerably less. For some reason, though, when people discuss what their divorce cost them, they tend to focus on attorney’s fees, when that’s really only part of a much bigger puzzle.
The biggest costs associated with divorce are usually the ones that sneak up on you. When you’re presented with an agreement, for example, if you don’t make sure you understand what you’re signing, and what costs might be associated with what you’re agreeing to, you may find yourself in serious financial hot water. Think about it: there are taxes, insurance, depreciating assets, costs associated with refinancing, inflation, bad investments, and other issues that may pop up unexpectedly, even after you thought your divorce was already wrapped up. Not to mention that you’ll be responsible for paying these things with just one income.
Whether you agree to keep or sell a portion of your marital assets, there may be unforeseen consequences, especially if you aren’t diligent yourself in trying to discover the financial consequences beforehand. It’s never a bad idea to take a draft of your agreement (before it’s signed!) to a tax attorney, CPA, or other financial professional. If you have questions about what, for example, refinancing your home might cost, it’s a good idea to find out before you sign on the dotted line. Make sure you know that what you take away from the marriage won’t cost you more than you think to keep.
Do your research. Read your agreement, and make sure you understand it before you sign it. Once you sign it, there’s no going back.