Divorce Does Not Have to Leave You in Major Debt
A recent article in Yahoo!money about the increasing interest in divorce loans as the country continues to deal with the unprecedented global pandemic. We all know that 2020 was a very stressful year, and all the craziness that happened last year has certainly taken its toll on many married couples.
A lot of couples who would like to get a divorce have a hard time paying for it, and a growing number of them are taking out loans to finance the cost. The price of a conventional divorce can easily exceed five figures, and most Americans these days do not have that kind of money lying around.
Even if you have decided that dissolving the marriage is the right course of action, creating new debt to finance it is not the answer. Divorcing is hard enough on a couple’s finances as it is.
When spouses split up, they create two households where there used to be one. This means two housing payments, two utility payments, two internet/cable TV payments, etc. all with the same overall income. Under these circumstances, the last thing you want to do is run up a large debt that you will have hanging over your head on top of all the other added expenses.
How to Get Divorced Without Running Up a Large Debt
The Yahoo! article suggests that instead of getting a divorce loan, spouses who are in an untenable marriage try “communication, reconciliation, kindness, and counseling”, and if all else fails, separate rather than going into debt to get a divorce. They also advise that you “take a look at the options out there and compare the different solutions to find the best and most affordable option for you”.
One affordable solution that is becoming increasingly preferred among divorcing spouses is mediation. Divorce mediation is an approach that does not have to involve attorneys, and it allows couples to work out a final settlement at a fraction of the cost of a conventional divorce. Through mediation, couples can complete their divorce in just a handful of sessions, and these sessions can be conducted in person or remotely, whatever is most convenient for participants.
How Does Divorce Mediation Work?
Mediation process is facilitated by a neutral, third-party mediator who meets with the participants to work out the terms and conditions of the divorce. Spouses are free to get an attorney, or they may choose not to have any attorney at all. If you are trying to do a divorce on a budget, you would probably want to choose the latter.
For mediation to work, you must enter the process with a willingness to be civil, communicate, and compromise. No settlement can become legally binding unless both participants agree to it, so you have to be ready to work cooperatively with your spouse, recognizing that by taking this approach, you will see the benefits of completing your divorce without going deep into debt and putting your financial future at risk.
All of that said, you do not have to agree with your spouse on every issue before you start mediation. It is totally fine if you have some disagreements, that is what the mediator is there for. As mediators, we are trained to help couples resolve disputed issues by looking for middle ground and keeping the communication lines open between the spouses.
The end result of divorce mediation (when successful) is not only a lower cost divorce, but also a final agreement that fully addresses the couple’s unique circumstances rather than a cookie-cutter solution that you would typically get from a court. And because the agreement is created with input from both spouses, they are more likely to take ownership of it and abide by its terms and conditions.
As an aside, if you are thinking about separating (as the Yahoo article talks about) as a trial or to avoid the cost of a divorce, it is still a good idea to go to mediation; especially if you have kids, significant assets, and other complicated issues to resolve. These issues should still be worked out and the terms and conditions of them put into writing, rather than verbal agreements for which there is no legal recourse of one of the parties breaks them.