Psychologists say divorce is the second most stressful event in life, after the death of a spouse or child. It can also be very expensive. However, there are ways to minimize costs that we have written about before. In a word: preparation. In two words: preparation and organization. Here is some more detailed advice from a California attorney:
The tax reform act that when into effect January 1, 2018, has had a significant impact on all Americans, including all divorcing couples, especially wealthier couples with significant assets. This article from the N.Y. Times recommends such divorcing couples consider 4 strategies, some new, some have always been good advice for everyone:
Over the past two decades our firm has been in business, we have noticed an increasing number of divorce clients are over 50. This trend has been noticed by many social science observers and pollsters. According to Pew Research, the divorce rate for people over 50 has more than doubled from 1990 to 2015, while the divorce rate for those aged 25-39 has dropped by 21% over the same period. The trend is so profound, it has been dubbed "grey divorce". This, despite the U.S. divorce rate hitting a 40 year low.
How much will my divorce cost? When I speak to divorce clients, that is one of the first two questions they typically ask. The other is how long will it take. Unfortunately, there is no single answer to these questions. No two divorces are ever alike.
When divorce clients contact me, the first two questions they typically ask is how long will it take and how much will it cost. Of course, there is no single answer for this as no two cases are alike. For example, a young couple with no children living in an apartment with few assets might file an uncontested divorce that will typically take 2-3 months. An older couple with a home and children, perhaps retirement accounts, with a contested divorce could take over one year. A Texas divorce cannot be concluded any faster than 60 days after it is filed.
Divorce is hard on children. Judges make custody and visitation decisions based on the best interest of the child. Judges and psychologists alike have little patience for parental alienation. Parental behavior during divorce is a key to better outcomes for children.
Our firm advises divorce clients to meticulously reveal all their assets to the court. The consequences can be quite severe.
I caution all my social media using clients investigating or seeking divorce to be extraordinarily careful about how they use social media. Interestingly, based on the study referenced below, it appears that those using social networks like Facebook, are far more likely to end up leaving their spouses in the first place. In any case, married people would be wise to confine to constrain their social media activities, if any, to only the most benign, G-rated, family-oriented content. If unsure about do's and don'ts, speak with an attorney.
Separating? Divorcing? Do not sign anything your spouse/partner asks you to sign, no matter how innocent it may appear, without consulting an attorney. Let me repeat: do not sign anything without consulting an attorney. Does that sound self-serving? Sure it does. But let me assure you that (1) words matter, even if what you are signing may not technically be a legal contract, or legally enforceable, and (2) because words matter, signing such a document may cost you infinitely more than an hour with an attorney. The following is one example of a recent case of a mother who did take the time to consult with me before signing an agreement proposed by her husband. We will shortly write about two clients who sadly, did not. Divorce is difficult enough without handcuffing yourself to a document you never should have signed.