When the pandemic started in early 2020, based on trends, experts thought many couples already on the brink of divorce would be pushed over the edge. For seemingly happy couples, hours spent together working from home or suffering social isolation due to mandatory distancing from family and friends would also spell trouble for their marriages. After a few months into the pandemic, it appeared that the trends were correct. Divorces were increasing exponentially, but just as fast as they increased, they slowed to current rates and have been holding. There has been a good deal of speculation about why divorce rates have decreased, but many analysts think it boils down to money and affordability.
5 Cost Considerations When Preparing to Divorce
During the pandemic, many people found themselves without employment due to mandatory closures and business failures, and without financial security, divorce is an unrealistic proposition.
Here are 5 known costs some couples face that could delay their choice to get divorced this year:
- Legal Fees: The average divorce topped in at almost $16,000 last year, and most of those costs were attached to legal fees. Legal fees vary depending upon the fee schedule of the divorce attorney, and while you can shop around for an affordable deal, it is still a considerable fee if you are financially unstable due to pandemic conditions. Many couples decided they could not afford to pay the fees associated with a contested divorce.
- Filing Fees & Paperwork: Divorces aren’t free, and while legal fees make up a considerable amount of the costs of the typical divorce, filing fees and court-ordered paperwork also factor into the price tag. In Florida, for example, it currently costs over $400 to file the initial Petition for Dissolution of Marriage documents with the court. These are not small fees if you are unemployed or struggling to budget while collecting unemployment.
- Contested Means Costly: Contested divorces can last longer and cost more than amicable divorces. When couples agree on the terms of their divorce, it can be smooth sailing, but when couples fight over every asset and debt, it can lead to protracted proceedings. Couples who agree on terms may find divorce savings by selecting an alternative divorce method, like mediation or collaborative divorce.
- Child Support Payments: Children are the unwitting participants of divorce, and the legal system is designed to ensure their care and concerns are kept in consideration throughout the divorce process. Child support payments are an important financial consideration that ensures children can continue living in the manner to which they’ve been accustomed. Divorce is not the choice of children; it is an adult issue and responsibility. If parents are unable to pay for child support and spousal maintenance to ensure their quality of life, a divorce may be unaffordable at the time.
- Establishing a Secondary Household: Getting a divorce usually starts with a period of separation. When couples separate, one spouse usually moves out of the marital home and establishes a new household elsewhere. It can be expensive to set up a new household because costs, like rental deposits, utility setups, and new furniture, add up quickly.
Even if divorces continue to show a downward trend with no rebound in the forecast, as more and more adults are vaccinated, there’s speculation that divorce rates will see an increase. As analysts continue to study the data to understand the reasoning behind these trends, whether we are in a pandemic or not, financial reasons have long been an obstacle to divorce.
Beatriz Zyne, P.A. can work with you to develop a strategy for your Miami divorce case. Call our office now at (305) 876-6138 to schedule a consultation.