Uncontested divorces cost the least, compared to virtually any other legal option you might pursue. Even so, you may still need to make some preparations. The longer the marriage and the wider the income disparities, the bigger the financial shakeup at the time of separation. If you have children together, this further adds to the complexities of ironing out the financial details.
If your spouse makes more money than you do, he or she might feel worried about losing the financial stability he or she worked hard for. In the opposite scenario, your spouse might feel terrified about how he or she will make ends meet without your financial assistance. Committing to compromise and mutual understanding can go a long way to alleviate fears.
If you and your spouse are amicable enough to do this together, consider doing so. Otherwise, complete your budgets alone. Nerdwallet recommends creating one budget for current expenses and another for what you expect to pay once divorced. Forecasting the expenses of a life not yet lived might feel difficult, but get creative. Look beyond just everyday expenses. Plan for the cost of retirement, vacations, health care and emergencies.
Did you hold on to shared documentation or did your spouse secure those? You might both need copies of your financial information, so cooperation can prove useful here. Examples of documentation you need include the following:
- Income tax returns for the past three or so years
- List of assets and debts incurred during the marriage
- Retirement account statements
- Investment account statements
- Recent paystubs or company ledgers
- Bank statements
An unfortunate fact is that many uncontested divorces can spiral into contested divorces. Approach your divorce with an open mind and positive expectations, but consider putting a contingency plan in place, just in case.