It seems like whenever you hear about a messy divorce on TV, there’s always talk about how much money it cost. And usually you hear about little else. The truth is the divorces we see on TV only tell part of the story. Yes, money is involved, but there can be families and assets like a home that have more worth than just their dollar amount. Given the confusion that can ensue from divorce proceeding, it’s wise to ask yourself and your attorney questions to get a better handle on the issues before finalizing a divorce. Here are seven questions to ask to get you started.
1. How Much Are My Emotions Steering This?
Bank Rate acknowledges that it is difficult to not feel emotional during the process. However, the financial site advises couples to try to keep their emotions in check. Left unchecked these emotions could cost you a lot of money for an issue that you may not care about two years from now.
2. Have I Asked the Hard Questions?
This question is related to the previous one.
A Huffington Post article acknowledges the difficulties people have when it comes to divorce, but it also provides a list of tough questions that people heading into a divorce should ask themselves. The question themselves were provided by people who had also been through a divorce. They can give couples a perspective that they wouldn’t have normally. Included in the list are questions along the lines of:
- Am I brave enough to do this? It takes real courage to divorce.
- Am I able to financially support myself?
- Is it possible to work it out or have things go too far that we’re at the point of no return?
- Am I okay being alone? Even for the rest of my life? It could come to that.
- Will I have regrets?
While these questions might seem elementary, it’s difficult to think about them while you’re in the heat of the moment, but thinking about them can maybe save you grief down the road.
3. Is Mediation an Option?
According to the New York Times, many divorcing couples believe that there are but few options when they’re going through a divorce. However, options like mediation can help the bottom line of both parties. Nowadays it’s possible to work with some lawyers, who have been trained in mediation and who can work collaboratively with a couple. This can keep a divorce out of court.
4. What are the Procedures for Divorce?
If it really is inevitable that you and your spouse will get divorced, you’ll want to know what to expect, according to an article on Legal Zoom. Do you know if the state you live in has a mandatory separation period? Or do you have to show up on court? Questions like these will help you navigate the waters. Every state has different rules. Be sure to ask for a timeline as well.
5. How Much Does the Attorney Cost?
This question works in tandem with the one above. You not only need to know what your attorney is going to charge, you also need to know how to work out a pay schedule. For example, it might be in your divorce papers that your spouse pays half. However, your attorney may not be the one enforcing that. You might have to pay for the whole divorce and then go after your soon-to-be-former spouse yourself.
6. How Will We Take Care of Debt?
Be advised that your divorce papers don’t make contracts that you’ve signed null and void. You need to talk with your spouse to decide how you’ll divide debt in the case of divorce.
7. Child Support and Alimony
According to Bank Rate, how the IRS deals with alimony versus child support can be different. The spouse receiving alimony usually pays the taxes on the alimony. Additionally, if the person paying the child support can’t take it as a tax deduction and the person receiving it won’t be taxed on it.
Getting a divorce can either be protracted and messy or smooth, depending upon how each couple decided to deal with it. These seven questions will help you as you navigate both the emotional and financial waters of divorce in the weeks and months to come.