How Much is a Divorce in Georgia?
Although some people may assume there is an average cost of divorce in Georgia, the cost actually varies based on the circumstances of the case in question. While there is no set cost, it’s still important to make sure you understand how you can prepare for and calculate the financial cost of a divorce. Our divorce attorneys will help you through the whole process.
Can I Afford a Divorce in Georgia?
We often find that many people—especially spouses who are homemakers relying on a primary income earner—do not understand their financial situation or the post-divorce budget they will need to meet their desired standard of living. People regularly overlook budget and finance issues in the emotion of a divorce and are more likely to focus on issues such as child custody. The cost of divorce in GA differs on a case by case basis.
Ideally, you should collect financial information as quickly as possible. If you are the spouse filing for divorce, you should collect information before you file for a divorce. However, even if you sense that a divorce may happen to you, you may be blindsided by a divorce and will need to collect complete financial information during the divorce proceedings. Understanding how to financially prepare for a divorce is crucial.
How to Financially Prepare for a Divorce
There are several steps you should take in order to understand the potential cost of filing for a divorce in Georgia, or even for dealing with the aftermath of a divorce. Here is a quick walkthrough of what you’ll need to know.
Estimate the Budget You’ll Need After the Divorce
Our expert teams will give their best estimate in terms of proceedings, but they will need your assistance to best understand your current finances. You’ll need to calculate the monthly budget you will need after your divorce. Especially if you do not work outside the home, if you do not handle your finances, or if you are in the dark about your household expenses and income, you need to calculate:
- Monthly home expenses (mortgage or rent, property taxes, home maintenance costs, utility bills, etc.)
- Monthly vehicle expenses (car payments, car maintenance, car insurance, etc.)
- Monthly basic needs (groceries, clothing, medical costs, etc.)
- Monthly discretionary income (dining out, shopping, vacations, etc.)
List Your Assets
Understand what assets you own either individually or as part of your marital property, including:
- Savings accounts
- Retirement assets (such as 401k, 403b, IRA accounts)
- Real estate holdings
- Life insurance
- Individual checking accounts
- Collectibles and art
- Ownership in business entities
List Your Liabilities
Understand what you owe. That includes:
- Student loans
- Credit card debt
- Back taxes owed
Hire Experts to Plan An Exit Strategy
An exit strategy predicts the various and most likely scenarios that will pan out as the divorce concludes. You need to work with your attorney, financial advisor, and a tax professional to understand:
- Your overall goals (For example, do you want to stay in your house? Do you want your kids to go to private school?)
- How your marital property will be divided, and what you will receive
- How much child support and alimony you will pay or receive
- How your financial and tax status will be affected
- How much income you will receive
- Your budget needs, and if your assets and income will meet your budget needs
Our experiences with hundreds of clients have helped us formulate some tips for devising the best exit strategy:
- Be transparent and honest.
- Do not try to lie, mislead, or feign ignorance about your assets, liabilities, and budgetary needs. Judges and attorneys will sniff out your dishonesty quickly, and you may ultimately harm your post-divorce finances or reduce how your financial picture looks once the divorce is over.
- If you’ve never even thought about your budget, finances, or assets, don’t let your lack of knowledge scare you and lead you to inaction. Ask for help. Inaction will just hurt your chances of a fair settlement.
- Get assistance from a family law attorney, financial advisor, and/or tax professional if you have questions.
Gather Your Credit Report(s)
Make sure you also get all three versions of your credit report to look for additional financial issues such as credit problems. Georgia offers a free credit report once a year, and you can access it at www.annualcreditreport.com.
Handle Your Divorce Professionally With Stearns-Montgomery & Proctor
Think of divorce like a business negotiation, not an emotional argument. It’s easy for the emotion of a marriage’s end to affect how you approach a divorce. You may want to fight with your spouse because you feel angry, but you need to remain as objective as possible. That objectivity will help you get the best post-divorce financial settlement for yourself. Thinking of divorce like a business negotiation helps you remain objective, analyze the evidence, and stay focused on your financial goal.
A Stearns-Montgomery & Proctor family law attorney will reduce any bad financial surprises and work on your behalf to maximize your chance of a favorable outcome. Contact us today or give us a call at (678) 971-3413 to learn more about divorce costs in GA.