For most North Carolina couples, the decision to end a marriage isn’t made lightly. While statistics show that approximately half of all first marriages end in divorce, it’s usually a combination of factors that lead to the decision to split. As long as instances of spousal abuse or other serious matters aren’t involved, spouses contemplating untying the knot may benefit from taking a step back to consider the possible financial ramifications.
The marital home is often sought by one spouse during the divorce process. However, keeping 100 percent of a home with 50 percent of the income can be a big financial challenge for newly single individuals. In some situations, the burden of monthly bills plus household expenses for groceries and other necessities results in the need to take out a loan or add to personal debt obligations. There’s also the possibility of losing a house during bankruptcy proceedings if obligations become overwhelming.
If a couple prefers to sell their former home, they may still incur unexpected financial losses. A desire to quickly sell, for instance, could result in accepting a lower-than-expected offer. Also, an unfavorable housing market may convince a couple to hang onto the house until things improve. This could mean duplicate expenses for two households. There are also costs associated with moving to a new home along with fees for attorneys, accountants or financial planners. Some former spouses also seek counseling to help deal with lingering psychological issues related to a split.
If the decision is made to proceed with a divorce, some budget-conscious couples might consider representing themselves. However, self-representation without assistance from a lawyer can result in oversights that lead to significant financial losses. A lawyer can also prove to be a valuable ally if a divorce involves a request for alimony or issues with child custody.