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Divorce: It’s More Expensive than You Think

How much is a good divorce? In a no fault divorce, you can file the papers for $200 or less. It mostly depends on how much money your county thinks it can gouge you for the service. Technically, there is no reason for it to cost anything at all. Whatever price you pay for filing is pure profit for the county. Don’t expect to see better schools from the divorce fund. Whatever you pay for such a divorce, that is usually the end of it.

But remember, that is what you might pay for a good divorce. What you stand to pay for a bad divorce will crush your dreams, and what remains of your spirit. If a good marriage is like winning the jackpot, a bad divorce is like betting it all on black, and watching it come up red. This explains the growing popularity of the two following strategies:

  1. Avoid marriage
  2. Prenuptial agreement

With either strategy, one sidesteps the following financial ravages of a bad divorce:

Another One Rides the Bus

If you find yourself on the wrong side of a bad divorce, make sure you live in a city with good public transportation. There is an excellent chance you are going to lose the car. When you only have one of a particular asset needed by both, splitting the baby is not an option. The judge will make a decision. Be prepared for that decision to go against you.

If public transportation is not an option where you happen to be, you are going to need to buy another car. That can be tricky if you are still stuck making the payments on the car you no longer have.

Because marriage is treated by lenders as a credit benefit, divorce can have a deleterious effect on your good credit. One of the immediate effects is that it will be more difficult for you to find financing you can afford to help you buy a vehicle you want to drive. If your credit was already teetering on the brink, you’re going to have to get creative. One way to “creatively” finance your credit is to work with a specialty finance company. These are companies that help people with credit dings get funding for the things they need. Some, like Operation HOPE, work with first time homeowners. Some, like American Medical Loans, work with people facing large medical bills. Some, like Consumer Portfolio Services, work with people who need to finance transportation.

According to the Better Business Bureau, Consumer Portfolio Services, Inc has a solid track record. Even so, you usually don’t seek them out to contact or deal with directly. You get referred to them through your car dealer (or, sometimes, you can direct your car dealer to them).

Table for One

If the cooking half of the relationship is the one that walked out, you are going to eat worse, less often, and more expensively. Cooking for one is so much harder than cooking for two or more. Recipes are not written for singles. You can try cooking larger portions and saving them for later. But that always gets tiresome very quickly.

The convenience foods that are intended to feed a single person are less nutritious and more expensive. It simply costs more to shop for one than for two. You will end up eating out a lot more often. This will make your food budget skyrocket. A prenup will not save you from this fate. But at least you won’t lose half your income in the bargain.

Splitting the Baby

Splitting the baby is a biblical term that highlights the difficulty of dividing something that is not divisible. In such situations, someone has to give up their claim. Prepare for that someone to be you. As we mentioned above, companies like Consumer Portfolio Services, Inc. (CPSS) can help you get into another car (or home, etc). But they can’t help you get another job or Burmese Mountain dog.

The baby they can split is your income. You might be allowed to keep half of it. If there are kids involved, whether or not you get to see the kids, you will be paying for them, just like that car you don’t get to drive. You might be out as much as 40% of your net income. It could be less depending on where you live. Alimony regulations vary drastically based on location.

Everyone knows that divorce can be prohibitively expensive. But, remember, a bad divorce still may be cheaper than a bad marriage.


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