Divorce, Debt, and Finances

Tips, Struggles and Successes navigating Divorce, Debt and Finances

Consider your options when it comes to divorce

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As I begin the journey through my second divorce, I find myself older and wiser than the first time around.

I am doing considerably more research, including knowing my options when it comes to the proceedings.

With our current economic conditions, everyone is looking to save a buck, including me!

Here are a few ways I found, aside from a traditional divorce, that may save you money.

  • Do it yourself. DIY projects are great for making a new set of curtains or a special dessert, but divorce? I would highly recommend at least consulting with a licensed attorney; but, you may be able to get away with doing most of the work yourself if you have a simple cut and dry case: no assets or liabilities, kids, or special circumstances. While this is the least expensive way to go, you will still need to complete the forms and file. If you need legal advice and want to avoid hiring a lawyer, check into pre-paid legal programs. If you are participating in a DMP and have MBS this is one of the benefits available. Keep in mind DIY divorce will only work if both parties are in agreement, and want the same things out of the divorce.
  • Consider mediation. Mediation involves having a neutral party assist in devising a divorce agreement. That means the mediator can't give advice to either party, and also can't act as a lawyer for either party. While you may have to concede on some of what you want, you could save thousands in legal fees. It is important to note a mediator won't be able to file your divorce documents. If you're not able to file your own divorce documents, you'll end up paying at least one lawyer to convert the results of mediation to the filing documents for a no-fault divorce.
  • Arbitration. Arbitration differs from mediation, as an arbitrator has the authority to impose a settlement. The arbitrator listens to the arguments of both parties and then provides a ruling. Both parties must agree to submit to arbitration before the process begins and agree to be bound by the arbitrator's decision, whatever it is. Mediation is the way to go if you think you can come to an agreement; arbitration decisions are final and must be abided by.
  • Litigated Divorce.  This is what most people think of when they hear the word divorce. A nasty, long drawn out, affair, with two attorneys involved-- similar to what you would see on TV. The reality is today most people try to avoid this type of divorce because it is expensive, hurtful, and a tough way to handle your divorce.  

Whatever you decide: consider your options carefully, keep the lines of communication open, and, if you don't have the money for a litigated divorce, consider meeting your ex halfway to save yourself financial hardship. After all, is it really worth it to get the picture of dogs playing poker, or a set of dishes?

Suzanne Cramer

Suzanne is a certified credit counselor working in our Ask the Expert forums as a coach and a Social Media Specialist for CareOne. Suzanne writes for our Blended Finances and A Straight Talk on Debt blogs.  As a soon to be divorced single mom, Suzanne also writes for the Divorce, Debt, and Finances blog. Ask her questions, share your story or just follow Suzanne on her journey as she navigates dealing with divorce, debt, and finances. Suzanne is also very active on Twitter and manages two CareOne accounts: ADivorcedMom and Ask CareOne where she shares the latest debt industry news and tips to keep your finances in check.

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