What to expect with divorce debt

Divorce can be one of the most expensive and stressful experiences that one can have in his or her life.  If you and your spouse have been together for a long time, dividing your assets will probably have a substantial financial impact on both of you.  If you have children, there can be the added expenses of child support and meeting their needs as a single parent.  Additionally, there can be significant costs which come with the divorce itself.

Dividing Property and Debts   

Wisconsin is a community property state meaning that, with certain limited exceptions, what you earn, acquire, or owe during the marriage belongs to each person equally.  This applies to social security and retirement accounts as well as home ownership, your vehicles, and credit card obligations.  When you and your spouse divide everything, the debt will follow the asset.  For example, if you get the family home which has a mortgage, after the divorce, you will be solely responsible for paying this bill.  If you leave the residence, you will have the expense of setting up a new home and paying your debts and costs on your own.  Either way, adjusting to life on one income when you have been used to having your partner’s financial or other contributions can be a stressful adjustment.

Child Support and Single-Parenting

Another significant expense can be having to pay child support for your minor children.  Depending on their ages, you may be obligated for years to come.  There are also additional expenses such as out-of-pocket medical and extracurricular activity fees which can add up.  For the parent receiving child support, these funds seldom cover all of the costs of caring for the children.  Additionally, if you have been a stay-at-home parent and return to work, the price of childcare can come as quite a shock as well. 

Spousal Support

In some cases, the court may find it necessary to order one spouse to pay the other spouse temporary or even permanent support.  This usually happens in long-term marriages or when one spouse has stayed home to raise children while the other obtained their education and advanced professionally.  The idea is to put the less financially well-off spouse on more equal footing.  While spousal support can be a positive resource it is not one that is automatically granted in each divorce.

The Price of Divorce

Aside from basic filing fees and service, there can be additional costs for your divorce process.  Because every situation is different, it is not possible to say an exact amount.  One thing is for certain—when divorcing couples have many disputes about significant issues, it can get be expensive for both sides.  These expenses usually involve paying attorneys to prepare discovery and motions and attend court.  However, there are ways to limit the cost of these disputes through processes such as mediation. 

We understand the financial issues which can arise during divorce and can help you examine your situation and determine how to prepare for what is to come.  Contact us today to schedule a consultation, and let us take a “first look” at your circumstances.

About First Look Family Law