North Carolina residents who are facing the end of their marriages must think ahead about how to protect themselves financially. A divorce may cost anywhere from $15,000 to $20,000 or more, and people will also have new expenses afterward as they set up a new household. It is important to gather financial information and all account numbers and passwords. Important documents should be photocopied and possessions should be photographed. People need to understand what they have and what it is worth.

Talking to others about their divorce and getting advice is also important. Finding out what mistakes people made and what they would change if possible can be helpful. An attorney may be able to begin advising how finances should be handled while the divorce is underway. However, people should avoid hiring an attorney who wants to use children in the divorce case or attack the character of the other spouse.

People should try to find a balance between getting through the divorce as quickly as possible and making sure to protect their own interests. Compromise is necessary, but a person should think of the process as a business negotiation and consider the long-term consequences of what is being agreed to. It is necessary to control emotions and have a realistic attitude about what the outcome will be.

For example, a person might be tempted by sentiment to fight to hold onto the family home and let the other spouse have the retirement account. However, this might be a poor financial decision because the mortgage payments may be unaffordable, and the retirement account might be worth a significant amount. An attorney can look at a client’s financial situation and make suggestions about property division that will provide more financial stability after the divorce.