|July 17, 2014|
Previously published by Examiner.com on Summer 2014
For many individuals facing divorce, a common concern is the disruption of financial security during the divorce process. This issue can be especially frightening and overwhelming when a stay-at-home parent, a financially dependent spouse or a disabled spouse is facing divorce.
Here are some of the concerns I hear from spouses facing divorce who fear significant financial challenges:
- "My spouse earns much more than I do, how will I support myself and my children on my income alone while I'm going through divorce?"
- "My spouse has complete control of the household finances, I have no money to pay a divorce attorney."
- "My spouse is threatening to take away my children if I file for divorce since he/she makes most of the income."
- "I have cared for our children and our home for many years and do not have a job. I need help acquiring skills so I can get work after the divorce."
I have counseled many individuals in these and similar circumstances who are so concerned about finances, they are virtually paralyzed with fear and unable to take action. I cannot over emphasize that there are solutions to these and other concerns with regard to maintaining a couple's financial stability during the divorce process.
While the divorce is pending and agreements are being worked out, most couples should consider setting up temporary orders and/or support to protect their assets and credit during the divorce process. Whatever the situation, either spouse can ask for a temporary support hearing at the time the divorce is filed or shortly thereafter.
Temporary orders can state, while the divorce is pending, who stays in the family home; who cares for the children; and who is financially responsible for the mortgage payment, utilities, car payments, etc. These orders also set rules restraining any inappropriate conduct by divorcing spouses.
In my experience, couples can often agree upon reasonable, temporary financial arrangements, through their attorneys, that will tide them over until the divorce is final. One attorney can draft a Temporary Orders document that outlines all the financial details agreed on. This document is then signed by each spouse and filed with the court. Agreeing on temporary orders at this stage moves the process along, alleviates fears and avoids incurring additional legal fees from going to court.
As far as paying attorney's fees, many lawyers today accept credit cards from clients going through divorce. This is an option to consider if couples do not have the cash reserves available to finance the divorce. This also may be a good solution for couples wanting to preserve what cash reserves they have to pay for unexpected expenses during the divorce process.
The first step to securing your finances during the divorce process is to find a family law attorney who is experienced in divorce and can assist you with these and other concerns you may have.