Is a Break Within Your Means?

Divorce 101

This is part one of an ongoing series about being financially prepared for a divorce. Read part two and part three.

I am convinced that the second most-common New Year’s resolution—after going to the gym—has got to be getting divorced. Starting January 2, the phones in our office were ringing off the hook, as they do every year.

What does it mean to consult a divorce lawyer? It’s a one-time meeting to get your questions answered and find out how the laws of your state apply to the particulars of your situation.

It does not mean you have to hire that lawyer to represent you, or even to hire any lawyer at all. What you should come away with is enough information to answer this tough question:

Can I afford to get divorced?

Meaning, can you afford to divide up your property and still have a reasonable place to live? Can you afford to have the income your family currently lives on divided between two households?

Equally important: Can you afford emotionally to go through a divorce? Can you afford emotionally NOT to be divorced (even if the financial picture is not pretty)?

Depending on your answers, you could be ready to move forward. Next steps in our series: how to get a grip on your finances; how to get a grip on the law.

Make a break for it. Would you stay in an unhappy marriage for financial reasons?

Margaret Klaw is a founding partner with Berner Klaw & Watson in Philadelphia. She blogs at Family Law Unraveled.

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