The Cost of Divorce
One of the greatest misunderstandings about divorce is the seemingly universal concept that all will be over quickly and that the two parties can get on with their lives as if it never happened. Unfortunately, divorce can take longer and cost more money than ever previously imaginable. The real facts state that the average divorce process requires one to two years and varies in cost from several hundred to several thousand dollars.
Other financial ramifications involved could include a new rental or mortgage payment for a separated spouse as well as new alimony and/or child support payments to be made for both the short and long-term. In general, it is best to accept that change is on the horizon and act accordingly. In other words, be prepared for money to suddenly be in short supply.
Another misconception is the fact that, in concert with the marriage dissolution, each party receives half (or what is fair and equitable) of what was shared. Unfortunately, it is not as simple as that. Not only are there actual costs involved in the present with a divorce, but down the road, too, as spouses do not necessarily earn the same amount of money or possess the same potential to earn money in the future. Also, in many cases today, many couples are extended financially beyond their combined means, let alone singularly. Often, the financial structure of a given household is particularly frail and both parties can literally be swept away by a powerful event such as divorce.
There are very real factors that must be kept in mind after the decision to divorce has been reached. The cost involved is obviously one factor and often this requires a change or reduction in the quality of lifestyle. For one, attorney fees and court costs will become part of everyday life as might those of other divorce-related professionals and will now cut into previously disposable income.
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COMMUNITY PROPERTY VERSUS EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION -- There are two basic ways to handle divorce property division: Community Property: Alaska, Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin and Puerto Rico are community property states. This means that all marital property is typically defined as community property or separate property. When divorcing, community property is typically divided evenly, and each spouse keeps his or her separate property. Equitable Distribution: All other states follow equitable distribution. This means that a judge decides what is equitable, or fair, rather than simply splitting the property in two. In practice, this may mean that two-thirds of the property goes to the higher earning spouse, with the other spouse getting one-third.
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