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Choosing Divorce, Divorce Litigation, and Divorce Mediation – Taking Stock of Your Options, Part 4
This post is the fourth in a multi-part series on choosing divorce, divorce litigation, and divorce mediation. If you haven’t already read parts 1, 2, and 3, I recommend you do before continuing.
Preparing for divorce
The more prepared you are for divorce, the more smoothly it’s likely to go. Let’s take a look at some strategies and tips for preparing for divorce:
According to an article published on forbes.com in 2006, the average cost for a contested divorce in the United States was between $15000 and $30000. Adjusted for inflation to 2018 dollars, that’s $18,877 – $37,754. Of course, the cost of divorce varies wildly outside this average range. Some divorces may cost only a few hundred dollars, while others may run up a bill in the hundreds of thousands.
Before you’ll know how much money you’ll need to save or set aside for the divorce, you’ll need to decide how you’re going to navigate the divorce process. Can you and your spouse sort out divorce issues through divorce mediation or collaborative divorce, or will a traditional, litigated divorce be necessary? Fortunately, if you’re reading this, that likely means you’re already doing the research.
Get a clear picture of your household finances
Gather as much information as you can about the overall income and expenditures of your household. Make copies for yourself and start a file. Document bank statements, tax information, pay stubs, receipts – anything you can think of. Once you’ve assembled the file, store it outside your home. A safe deposit box is a great place.
Prepare for the possibility of a custody dispute
Even if you don’t anticipate having to fight your spouse over custody of your kids, it’s a lot better to be prepared to if you have to than to be caught flat footed. Try to think of what evidence you can collect that demonstrates you being involved in your children’s lives. Keep a journal of who takes them to school or activities, check with their school to see if they have documentation of which parent has attended school functions, and gather any other documentation you can. Of course, if you have evidence of criminal activity on the part of your spouse, that will be crucial in a child custody dispute. Like the financial documents, it’s a good idea to keep all of this stuff somewhere outside the home, like a safety deposit box.
Check back soon for Choosing Divorce, Divorce Litigation, and Divorce Mediation – Taking Stock of Your Options, Part 5. In the meantime, check out our page on divorce mediation.