Divorce is about money and money issues tend to bring out the worst in people. That’s the first essential (and uncomfortable) thing that you need to realize about divorce. Even if you and your spouse agreed amicably to the split, the goodwill may dry right up once you start to get down to the details of how the money will be divided up.
So, what are the other uncomfortable truths about the money and divorce that you should know?
1. You cannot count on child support or alimony
Even if you are awarded support or alimony, you can’t truly count on the money until it’s actually in your account each month. Given that nearly 60% of child support accounts are in arrears, it’s important to be as self-sufficient as possible with your own source of income.
2. Sometimes, it’s financially smarter to just let something go
If you’re fighting over a small fortune, it probably makes sense to keep fighting. However, you need to weigh the cost of the fight against the cost of whatever you’re fighting about with your spouse. For example, fighting over the house when there’s little equity in it makes no sense. You could end up paying more than the house is worth in attorney fees in the process.
3. You have to adjust your lifestyle
Trying to hang onto your old lifestyle — which was funded by a much bigger income than you have on your own — is a big mistake that people make time and again. You have to take a hard look at your spending habits and plan a budget, and you need to do it right away. Even the kids may have to make some adjustments.
4. What you don’t know absolutely can hurt you
As soon as you decide to get a divorce, think about the possibilities of what could happen and prepare for them. For example, what if your spouse goes back on your agreement and pulls all of the household money out of the joint account pending the divorce? What if your spouse cancels all of the joint credit cards? You need to know exactly how much money you have, where it is located and how you can maintain access to it right away.
If you’re preparing for a divorce, don’t do it alone. An experienced family law attorney can help you with your next steps.