A Divorce in Maryland can be very expensive. It can leave either spouse at risk for financial disaster, including bankruptcy. Advance divorce financial planning will greatly improve one’s chances of an equitable settlement.
These practical measures can take to minimize your costs or, at least, keep them under control:
- Do not get stuck on the small issues. A stall in the negotiations will generate unnecessary and substantial legal bills. If your major needs and objectives are met, and you both are displeased with the results, the settlement is likely a balanced one.
- Apply for credit cards in your own name. This will enable you to have an easy way to access money, establish credit in your own name, and have something to use when you cancel your joint accounts.
Get informed! Organize your records and collect information about all of your finances, in particular, what you own, what you owe, and the family budget.
- Don’t forget overlooked assets such as Frequent Flyer Miles, season tickets, club memberships, and timeshares. Sometimes these little items can actually be gems in bringing the settlement to closure.
Read a book, take a class, or do some other research on the divorce process, even if you plan to use a mediator or attorney. Knowing how the process works translates into dollars saved, as professionals do not have to explain details at their hourly rates.
Absolutely obtain the best advice you can afford. I tell my clients to look at fees as an investment in their future. Someone who is not specialized may charge less, but may also make irreparable mistakes or take twice as long to prepare documents. Divorce is a special situation that requires advanced training. Do not represent yourself in court!
Remember that whatever professional you are meeting with has a focus and specialty. The attorney advises you on legal issues; the therapist helps you emotionally; and the financial specialist performs financial and tax analysis. Stay on point when you are meeting with professionals charging an hourly rate.
John Faggio is a CPA divorce specialist, a Certified Financial Planner, and a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA)™. Email or call John at 410-988-7333 for an initial, flat-fee, consult to learn how to avoid the pitfalls, and control the costs of your divorce.