There are many direct expenses when you divorce. Attorneys’ fees are what most people view as the top cost. When you think about it, that is rarely true.
The top cost in any divorce tends to be creating a second household. If you are not already separated when you first meet with your divorce attorney, you might get some sticker shock when you think about the concept that two people living separate and apart from each other rarely can live as economically as two people still living together.
Interestingly enough, the next hidden cost that people do not think about when they are spending huge dollars to divorce, both by paying attorneys and setting up a separate household, is college costs. Whether college is a year away or 15 years ago, it is often the first or second largest expense you will ever be faced with. In Maryland, there is no requirement for parents to assist their children in paying for college. As a result, many spouses refuse to negotiate it, as they know judges cannot order it.
There is a very small subset of expert witnesses who assist parents with college expense readiness. They are often called FAFSA experts, because they help you plan for and fill out the government forms to assist with grants, scholarships and loans to pay for college. See elsewhere on my blogs for a more complete conversation about FAFSA.
Occasionally in contested divorce cases, expert witnesses are needed to prepare for trial, or settlement. Those costs will run into the thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars. They are to be used judiciously on a cost-benefit basis to ensure they are worth it.
I will mention one more here, which is counseling fees. Sometimes in a divorce, each parent has a counselor, the children have individual counselors and there may be a family counselor overlaying all of these counselors. They are not cheap, although great counselors can sometimes save you tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees. Experienced divorce attorneys tend to know the better counselors, as well as all of their prices.
For a complete listing of the potentially hidden costs of divorce in your particular case, start with asking your divorce attorney, and then talk with your CPA.
Did you know that highly experienced divorce attorneys can often recommend the top experts in any different fields that can assist you? It is absolutely true.
When you start down the path towards divorce, either willingly or unwillingly, you need to walk down the path with your eyes open, financially, emotionally and otherwise. The experienced family law attorneys at SIEGELLAW will help you take those steps, one at a time.