Going Through a Divorce on a Budget: 5 Tips for a Less Stressful and Less Expensive Experience
Going through a divorce can be an incredibly stressful experience, especially if you are trying to do it on a budget. However, there are ways to minimize the stress and the financial impact of divorce. Here are five tips to help you have a less stressful and less expensive divorce:
1. Be organized. Keeping track of all of your financial documents, bills, and other important information is crucial during the divorce process. Collect at least 3 years of credit card bills, bank statements and tax documents. This will help you to understand your past spending patterns and prepare a budget so that you know what you need to live on.
2. Seek mediation instead of litigating. Mediation is often a faster, more affordable, and less adversarial option than going to court. In mediation, a neutral third party helps you and your spouse to reach an agreement on all of the issues related to your divorce, including finances, property division, and child custody.
3. Communicate with your spouse. Communication is key to a successful divorce, especially when it comes to finances. Try to understand your soon-to-be-ex’s (STBX’s) point of view and that both of you are probably worried about finances. Try to be transparent about your financial situation and be open to negotiating a settlement that works for both of you. This can help you to avoid costly and time-consuming legal battles.
4. Hire a divorce coach. Divorce coaches, like me, can provide support, guidance, and resources to help you navigate the divorce process. They can also help you use your attorney and other divorce professionals more efficiently. A divorce coach will help you manage your emotions so that you can make smart decisions as you go through divorce. In addition, divorce coaches can help you prepare for mediation and feel confident that you’re making the best decisions for your future.
5. Work with your STBX to come to agreement on as much as you can without the use of attorneys, mediators or other divorce professionals. The more that you can agree to on your own, the less you’ll spend on your divorce. Divide the items in your house, talk about custody and parenting schedules and what you want to do with your cars on your own if you can.
We all know that divorce can be a stressful and expensive experience, but there are ways to minimize the stress and financial impact of divorce. If you’re organized, choose the right divorce process, communicate effectively with your STBX, hire a divorce coach and handle some of the negotiation on your own, you can have a much less stressful and less expensive divorce experience.
Jill Barnett Kaufman, MSW, LCSW and Certified Parent Educator is an experienced clinician who helps clients discover new ways to resolve a variety of challenges and bring more happiness and peace into their lives.