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Yes, divorce will impact your finances

Your finances are going to be impacted during divorce, there’s no question about that. However, the impact can be reduced, depending on your situation.

A divorce in the United States, based on 2012 data, costs $20,000. This includes legal fees and alimony costs, but the sticker shock is no joke. Most people don’t expect to fork out that much cash to separate from a spouse. The good news is that there are ways to keep costs down.

Avoid financial ruin from divorce

No one wants to be ruined financially because of a divorce. It’s unfair and unnecessary. You can make your divorce quicker and easier, particularly if you and your spouse can get along. For example, to keep attorney fees down, you can negotiate your settlement directly with your spouse. Other options, like mediation and arbitration, generally cost less than litigation. Not having to go to court saves both time and money.

People also see an impact on their finances when they move from one home into two. Of course, you’ll take on twice the debts between you. There are two house payments, two car payments, etc. During the divorce, make sure you negotiate for any financial assets that can make this transition easier for you.

Spousal support is also an expense for some, but it can be eliminated on an ongoing basis if you resolve the debt with a lump-sum payment. While alimony is normally paid to a less-advantaged spouse, it’s still extremely subjective. A good defensive argument can make a difference in how much the court awards to the other spouse. If you can come to your own agreement outside court, you may actually save money long-term.

Finally, remember that there are legal fees. An uncontested divorce might cost only $1,500 while an acrimonious divorce runs thousands — or even tens of thousands. Do your best to resolve disputes without the intervention of the court. This allows you both to save on attorneys’ fees.

Be prepared for the ways in which your finances are impacted during divorce. Appeal to your soon-to-be ex-spouse’s thrifty side. The two of you may be able to reach accord without going broke in the process.