Divorce will affect every facet of your life, including your finances.
Before you file, it is important to understand how the separation will
influence your financial standing. Although your personal living expenses
may decrease somewhat when you and your spouse part ways, your finances
will probably need time to recover — divorce still requires you
to divide one household income to support two new households.
Financial Factors to Consider During Divorce
Researchers estimate that, in the United States, the average divorce costs
between $15,000 and $20,000. The cost of divorce alone will influence
your finances, even before you consider additional factors such as child
support. If your divorce is complex (involving contested child custody,
business assets, high net worth, international issues, etc.), the cost
is likely to be even higher.
Division of Property and Debts
In a divorce, you will need to divide your community property (property
acquired during the marriage). This will potentially include your house,
real estate, savings and retirement accounts, investments, businesses
or business interests, and items of value. You will also divide your debts.
Parents are obligated to care and provide for their children. After a divorce,
your children will most likely live the majority of the time with one
parent (you or your ex). The court, in most cases, will require the non-custodial
parent to pay child support. Your income, your spouse’s income,
your standard of living, and your child’s financial needs will determine
the amount of child support you receive or pay.
Once finalized, child support settlements can be difficult to change. Without the help of an attorney, you could face an unfair or unreasonable
In some households, one spouse is the primary wage earner. After a divorce,
the court can obligate this spouse to pay alimony (called “spousal
support”). The court calculates alimony much like child support;
your income, your spouse’s income, your standard of living and financial
needs determine how much you will pay or receive.
Retirement Accounts and Pensions
Washington is a community property state. This means your retirement account
or pension may be subject to division, even if it is under your name.
This can be quite complex. The assistance of a seasoned legal professional
can help you understand the specific implications of your divorce, how
it will affect your retirement, and how you can protect your financial future.
Do you need a Washington divorce attorney? We invite you to speak with
a representative from McKinley Irvin to schedule a consultation.