Category Archives: Debt Division

DIVORCING? GET YOUR FINANCES IN LINE!

Researchers estimate that 45 to 50% of first marriages end in divorce in the United States. For second and subsequent marriages, the divorce rate is even higher. You may ask, “Why is the divorce rate so high in the United States?”

Many experts and divorce attorneys agree that two factors play a key role in the rate of divorce: 1) women are more economically independent than ever before, and 2) divorce is socially acceptable in the 21st century.

Even though more of America’s women are college educated and financially independent than they were in the 1970s and earlier, that doesn’t change the fact that a lot of spouses (men and women) put off a divorce for financial reasons and financial reasons alone. Many of our clients cited these economic reasons for putting off their divorce:

  • Afraid of losing their hard-earned assets
  • Afraid they can’t afford to pay child and/or spousal support
  • Afraid of giving half of their retirement to their spouse
  • Afraid of losing the marital residence
  • Afraid they can’t afford to support themselves or their family (often, stay at home moms) without their spouse’s income
  • Afraid of having to go back to work after a long hiatus
  • Don’t want to pay spousal support
  • Afraid they’ll be broke if they get a divorce
  • Afraid of being stuck with all of the marital debt

If you notice, we used the word “afraid” a lot. That’s because too many unhappy spouses put off filing for divorce because they have a lot of fear about what will happen to them financially. Most of these fears come from the unknown and not knowing much about how divorce will affect one’s finances.

Have money fears prevented you from taking the plunge?

If you’re in an unsatisfying marriage but you’ve held on because you’re afraid of ending up penniless, we have good news for you. Pennsylvania’s divorce laws are aimed at being fair. If you can’t afford to pay spousal support, there’s a good chance the judge will not order it.

If you’ve only been married for a year or two and you’re wealthy, the judge isn’t going to divide all of your assets down the middle and give the other half to your spouse; it doesn’t work like that.

Instead, the judge will look at only the assets acquired during the marriage, and after carefully reviewing your situation, the judge will decide on a fair and equitable distribution, unless of course you and your spouse reach an agreement on your own.

If you’re headed for divorce, here are some things to start thinking about today to prepare yourself financially:

  • If you’re the lower-earning spouse, you cannot rely on spousal support because it’s not guaranteed. Start thinking about what you need to do to become financially independent and self-supporting.
  • If you’re the higher-earning spouse, start thinking about ways to increase your income. If you’re ordered to pay child and/or spousal support, you’ll probably need more income to be comfortable.
  • Focus on paying off debt and living below your means.
  • Create a post-divorce budget today.
  • Think, “What can I do to become more successful?” If going back to school or working hard for a promotion will help you out, then by all means do it.
  • Find ways to cut down on your expenses.
  • If you’re not already, start saving 10% of your income so you have a safety net.
  • If you can afford one, hire a financial advisor to help you plan for retirement as a single person.
  • Ask your divorce attorney for advice on how to protect your credit during a divorce.
  • If you’re in the dark about your finances, now is the time to get intimately familiar with them.

Divorce does not have to be the big financial blow that people fear it will be. While you’ll need to reorganize your life and your priorities, if you play your cards right, you can change your economic circumstances for the better.

One of the best ways to get started on the right foot is to agree to a mutual consent, no-fault divorce through No Contest Divorce, LLC. With our services, it’s possible to achieve a fast and cheap divorce in no time at all. To learn more about our low-cost divorce services, contact our office directly!

FILING FOR DIVORCE IN THE NEW YEAR

Are you planning on filing for divorce after the holidays? If so, you have plenty of company. Historically, January is the busiest month for divorce filings across the nation. In contrast, December is the time of year when many (but not all) couples hold off on filing for divorce so they can get through the holidays without dampening the “holiday cheer” or having to handle court documents while entertaining friends and family.

If you’re going to file for divorce after January 1st, it will help if you start preparing in the month of December. This way, once you do start the divorce process, you’ll have a lot of the legwork out of the way. Here are four tips to help get the ball rolling before the New Year:

1. Run your credit report. Contact the three credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, and request a free copy of your credit report. Examine these printouts to see which accounts are open, how much you owe, and which accounts are “joint.” You will need this information when deciding how to divide debts. You also need to know which accounts are joint so you can put the accounts in one spouse’s name alone, or pay them off and close them. The goal is to cut the financial ties to your spouse so you can get a fresh start.

2. Copy all of the financial documents. As a part of the divorce, you’ll need to gather and make copies of all important financial documents. This includes credit card statements, medical bills, auto loans, insurance policies, mortgage papers, investments, retirement accounts, and of course tax returns.

3. Educate yourself on Pennsylvania’s divorce laws. Knowledge is power and divorce is no exception. During the month of December, take this time to research Pennsylvania’s divorce laws as they pertain to asset and debt division, spousal support, child support and child custody. We also recommend researching the difference between fault and no-fault divorce in Pennsylvania.

4. Create a post-divorce budget. The more prepared you are for divorce, the better. One way to prepare yourself is to create a post-divorce budget. Take into consideration housing, utilities, health insurance, your auto loan (where applicable), auto insurance, food, credit card bills, student loans, etc. Also, take child support and spousal support into consideration. As far as child support is concerned, will you be receiving or paying it? If so, how much? Unlike child support, spousal support is not guaranteed, but be sure to ask your divorce lawyer if spousal support will be a factor in your divorce.

Searching for a divorce attorney in Pennsylvania? To learn about our cheap divorce services, contact our firm today!

CAN I NEGOTIATE MY OWN DIVORCE SETTLEMENT?

If you’re seriously contemplating a divorce, you may be afraid of the costs involved. You might have heard people say something to the effect of, “Don’t even try to negotiate your own divorce settlement. That’s what attorneys are for.”

As you think of these warnings, you begin to imagine the attorney fees rising until you begin to rationalize, “I can’t afford to get a divorce.” Fortunately, there is light at the end of the tunnel and it is possible to obtain a cheap, no-fault divorce in no time at all, but there’s a catch: you and your spouse need to work together to reach a fair settlement.

No Contest Divorce, LLC Encourages You to Negotiate Yourself

At No Contest Divorce, LLC, we help couples obtain cheap, no-fault divorces. Unlike other law firms, we actually encourage spouses to negotiate their own divorce settlement. This may go against conventional wisdom, but it’s proven to be a highly-effective way for couples to obtain a low-cost divorce within a short timeframe.

“Most lawyers will tell you not to even try to negotiate your own divorce settlement. That’s because lawyers believe that they can negotiate for you better than you can negotiate for yourself,” Karen Covy wrote in HuffPost. About negotiating your own divorce, Covy said, “it’s not rocket science.”

“While divorce negotiations are definitely not for everyone, negotiating even a part of your own divorce settlement can save you time and money, if you do it right!” Covy wrote. We have to agree with Covy because that’s how our clients are able to obtain a divorce for just $319, including court costs and legal fees – by being cooperative with each other until they reach a mutually-satisfying divorce settlement.

Quick tips for negotiating:

  • Educate yourself on Pennsylvania’s divorce laws so you know your rights and responsibilities under the law.
  • Understand your assets, debts and post-divorce bills before you open your mouth.
  • If you have kids, make sure you understand the law in regards to child custody and support.
  • Know what you want and ask your attorney if it’s fair.
  • Do a post-divorce budget so you understand what you need.
  • Put yourself in your spouse’s shoes, and ask them to put themselves in yours.
  • Agree to work towards a fair, mutually-acceptable agreement.
  • Be polite and respectful and treat it like a business transaction. Check your emotions at the door.
  • Know what you want, but be flexible when necessary and remain open to advice and suggestions from your spouse and your divorce attorney.

To learn more about negotiating a no-fault divorce, contact No Contest Divorce, LLC today. We are here to give you the guidance you need during this difficult time.