Divorce often takes an emotional toll, but if you are not careful during your split, you may find that it takes a serious financial one, too. You could wind up paying tens of thousands of dollars to separate your life from your ex’s in court.
There is some good news, though. Not every divorce has to be expensive, and you may be able to cut costs during your divorce by recognizing costly mistakes others have made before you. To reduce the financial toll of a divorce, make sure to avoid the following.
Failing to consider tax implications
Most divorces involve tax implications. Some of those involve alimony. In the past, you would enjoy certain tax benefits as the party paying alimony, but since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act went into effect, this no longer applies.
Also, think twice before draining your 401(k) to help finance your divorce. If you do so and do not have taxes withheld, you might have to pay a big tax bill. You may also have to pay a 10% penalty if you access the money in your account before hitting retirement age.
Failing to surrender the house
If you and your ex both wish to remain in your marital home, it may become a source of animosity between the two of you. Try to avoid hanging on to your home at any cost, or because you see doing so as a “win” over your former partner. This is particularly important if you have negative equity in your home, meaning its value is less than what you owe on it.
After divorce, you must adjust your lifestyle and learn to live on one income, rather than two. The more you save by planning ahead and avoiding unnecessary conflict, the more you have to use as a down payment, security deposit or other necessary expense as you start living on your own.