It might come as a surprise that I often try to talk prospective clients out of divorce. While divorce is sometime necessary, its disadvantages often outweigh its advantages. Divorce can be the most emotionally, socially, and financially devastating event of a lifetime.
Before a client divorces, the client must think through the financial reality of maintaining two separate households. In most cases, prior to divorce, the family income maintains one home. After divorce, the same amount of money must be stretched to meet the needs of two homes. What would it look like for the client to live on half the amount of money currently entering the home? Before pursuing divorce, the client should sit down and budget what life would be like. If the client will be receiving child support and/or alimony, how much child support and/or alimony will the client receive? Is it enough to cover rent, groceries, and other necessities? Will the client need to take on extra work to meet all his or her expenses? If the client will be paying child support and/or alimony, how will that impact the client’s ability to live on his or her own?
The client may want to keep the marital home, but will the client be able to maintain it? Can the client afford to pay the mortgage, utilities, insurance, and taxes? If not, will the client be able to find a sufficient rental option in the children’s school district? If the client is hopeful to purchase a new piece of property, will the client have enough money from the property disposition to make a down payment? After dividing the parties’ liabilities, will the client have the credit necessary to buy a house?
Similarly, the client should envision what life might look like with a time-sharing arrangement. How will client feel about only seeing the children on weekdays? Or on weekends? Or whatever time-sharing arrangement is likely? How will the client feel about not being able to move the children out of the area without the consent of the opposing party?
Sometimes divorce is worth it, but not always.