Written by Mary Ann Hess

The true cost of divorce is more than financial

Divorce can be expensive, and the true cost is more than financial. If you’ve determined that your marriage cannot be saved, you can better control costs with a collaborative divorce. Both of you will work hard, but it’s worth it.

Dollars and Sense

It’s sad but true, some couples stay married because it’s advantageous financially. For example, one or the other partner may have terrific healthcare coverage for the family that would cost thousands per year to duplicate. The costs of divorce for one or both parties can include:

  • Child custody (loss of time with children)
  • Division of property and investments
  • Fees to separate retirement accounts
  • Legal fees – In a contentious divorce, the more you argue about child custody, who gets Auntie Jane’s quilt and the summer house; the greater your legal fees will become.
  • Loss of income
  • New or increased childcare costs
  • Separate medical plans
  • Supporting two households. This often results in a lower lifestyle for one or both of you.

“When financial struggle is on the horizon, the dream of a happy, healthy post-divorce life is drastically reduced and may result in trading one state of unhappiness for another. Starting to examine finances early in the separation process will help determine an easier path and a realistic outcome,” says Stephen Rosenfield, Family Mediator.

The likelihood is, if you can recognize your feelings and avoid reacting emotionally, you’ll save money with a collaborative divorce. This is likely a financially advantageous divorce model because the better prepared you are emotionally, the more effective your financial planning will be for you and for your family.

Staying Married ‘For the Kids’

There are several types of marriages in which staying together “for the kids” actually does more damage than good. If every day is tension-filled, emotional, and argumentative, that can take its toll on children much faster than a well-managed divorce.

Evidence and studies suggest if you are both reasonable people who love your family, you may want to consider the true cost of divorce in terms of collateral damage. While you and your partner are splitting hairs over splitting up, what’s going on with the kids? They’re watching. They’re feeling. And they will express themselves, one way or another, now or later. Children are the collateral damage of a divorce.

Dr. James Dobson, professor, and author says the true cost of divorce can be found in statistics:

Ninety percent of children from divorced homes suffered from an acute sense of shock when the separation occurred, including profound grieving and irrational fears. Fifty percent reported feeling rejected and abandoned…  One-third of the boys and girls feared abandonment by the remaining parent, and 66 percent experienced yearning for the absent parent with an intensity that researchers described as overwhelming. Most significantly, 37 percent of the children were even more dissatisfied and unhappy five years after the divorce than they had been at 18 months. In other words, time did not heal their wounds.

Emotional Expenses Highest in Divorce

You simply can’t measure the true cost of divorce. Concerning life after divorce, Huffington Post says expenses increase by $20,000 to $30,000 a year due to supporting a second household. Here are just a few of the emotional costs:

  • Divorce is a one-way trip. You can’t return to who you were before the divorce.
  • Extended family, friends, co-workers, employees – everyone in your life will be affected emotionally or ethically.
  • Mental health issues don’t disappear as a result of a divorce. You have to work through the steps toward better mental health whether you get a divorce or not.
  • You will suffer adjustment pains, physically and mentally.
  • You’ll miss your partner.

You Can Minimize the True Cost of Divorce

BestLegalChoices.com is Arizona’s directory of legal, financial, and communication professionals who can support you in the collaborative process during this difficult time. Our process involves working collaboratively for a financially and emotionally beneficial solution to your problems, for you and for your family.

Staying together may be a better solution. But if you decide it’s not, we can help you find the best legal choice. Contact us and let’s explore the options.