How to Pay for Your Divorce in Washington State
7 Ways to Pay for Divorce Attorneys & Fees with Limited Finances
Are you contemplating divorce but you’re short on cash?
Not having enough money to end a marriage is a situation that nobody wants to face. Finances shouldn’t hold you back from filing for divorce. But for many people, they do.
In a perfect world, divorce would be easy, but, unfortunately, it is complicated and expensive. Any time you’re dealing with a Judge, you’ll have to pay legal fees. The more property, assets, and children you have, the more expensive divorce can be. In this article we will show you 7 ways that you can help pay for your divorce when you are on a tight budget.
How to Finance Your Legal Costs in Divorce
Learn 7 Ways to Help Pay for Divorce Even if You’re Short on Cash
Nobody plans to pay for a divorce.
Nobody creates a savings account specifically for divorce funds.
So finding the money to pay for your divorce can certainly be a challenge. But don’t worry, we have 7 creative ways to come up with the funds to pay your legal fees. These simple methods can help you cover all, or at least part, of your divorce costs.
Divorce is emotionally taxing, no doubt about it, but it doesn’t have to ruin your finances.
First, remember that most of what you are going through is a temporary problem. In most situations, the man is hit hardest during the divorce process but, in the years that follow divorce, they grow financially stronger than their female counter part.
To get started, get knowledgeable and figure out a budget for what you will need to pay for your divorce. It is impossible to be exact, too many factors are unknowns. Question a family law attorney for input and talk to your friends about their experiences. Be sure to factor in the initial deposit and additional payments to your lawyer, additional court fees, and fees for consultations such as accountants and psychologists. You also have to consider the costs of temporary spousal support and child support, plus the expense of maintaining two households during the divorce process.
If you are planning on ending your marriage or sense that your spouse is headed in that direction, do start doing some appropriate financial planning.
This is the proverbial rainy day that you have been taught to prepare for;
- Start Cutting Back on Discretional Spending
- Set Aside Extra Money for Use Later
- Do Not Make Big Purchases or Long-Term Financial Commitments Without Thoroughly Understanding the Potential Consequences
Then, apply the following methods to come up with the extra money you need to get your life back on track.
Here are 7 simple, but creative ways to help pay for divorce without breaking the bank.
1) Ask Your Ex-Wife to Pay for Your Divorce
If your ex-wife makes more money than you, you may be able to request her to pay your legal fees.
If your ex-wife doesn’t agree to pay, you may be able to have a Judge order her to pay. You’ll still need some initial funds to pay your divorce lawyer to get things started, but your ex-wife might be ordered to pay you back.
2) Pay for Your Divorce by Selling Your Property
You can sell off any property that you owned before the marriage, but only BEFORE divorce papers are filed.
If you owned property before your marriage, it is typically considered, Separate Property, and is generally fair game to sell. You CAN NOT sell anything that is considered, Community Property, or any property that you and your ex-wife acquired during your marriage. But be very careful, sometimes it is hard to determine what is community property and what is separate. Sorting out mistakes made can also get very costly.
Definitely don’t sell anything after filing divorce papers, as this looks bad to a Judge and may be prohibited by court order.
Make a list of any items you owned before you got married.
Think of any kind of valuable separate property you may have to sell.
Some items to consider are:
- Stocks, Bonds, and Mutual Funds
- Real Estate Holdings
- An Extra Vehicle
- Boat and Boating Equipment
- Recreational Equipment (ATV, Jet Ski, etc)
- Your Wedding and/or Engagement Rings
- Gaming Systems
- Horse Trailers
- Motorcycle and Riding Equipment
- Mountain Bike, Kayak, or other Outdoor Equipment
Many of these items can be sold before divorce papers are filed if they were yours before you got married.
For example, if you bought a boat before marriage, you can probably sell it before filing your divorce papers. However, if you and your ex-wife bought the boat together, you can’t sell it. You’ll probably be able to sell separate property items without your ex-wife’s permission, but you may have to pay for those items later in court.
Any questions you have about what you can legally sell to pay for your divorce should be directed to your divorce attorney, as each divorce is unique.
3) Look into Your Retirement Account(s) to Pay for Divorce
You could borrow money from your 401(k), or other retirement account(s), to pay for your divorce.
However, not every 401(k) or retirement account allows you to borrow money, so check with your financial adviser or employer.
Even if you can take money out of your 401(k), you may need your spouse’s authorization to do so. If this is the case, have a discussion with your ex-wife to see if she’ll allow you to take money out of your 401(k). Mention to her that any money you borrow from your 401(k) will have to be accounted for in court. She may be more likely to let you take out the money if she thinks she’ll be getting some of it back.
A 401(k) can be considered community property since you likely put money into it during your marriage.
If you put funds into your 401(k) before marriage, then that money may be more available to you. However, every divorce case is different and, as always, you should speak with your divorce lawyer to see what 401(k) funds your ex-wife could receive.
4) Help Pay for Your Divorce with Crowdfunding
Crowdfunding is when individuals donate funds to a cause through an online medium.
You can crowdfund anything these days—a necessary surgery, a creative project, or a vacation.
Why not crowdfund your divorce?
To make a campaign to pay for your divorce, all you have to do is create an account on a crowdfunding site, share your campaign on your personal social media profiles (like Facebook and Reddit), and your friends, family, and even some strangers may contribute money to help pay for your divorce!
But, you should be careful how you phrase your social media posts about your divorce.
Don’t say anything cruel about your ex-wife (no matter how much you want to), because it could be used against you in court later. You don’t want to look bad to the Judge, because it could negatively affect the outcome of the divorce for you. Simply post on social media that you need money for a divorce, along with a link to the crowdfunding site you choose.
You should also contact your friends and family and ask them to share this post with their followers to increase your chances of receiving donations.
5) Take Out a Loan to Pay for Your Divorce
You can take out a personal loan from your bank or credit union to pay for your divorce.
Budget the minimum amount you need and apply for a loan that covers all your legal fees. If you’re in good standing with the bank or credit union, and you have a good credit score, you may get a low interest rate.
You can also ask friends or family for a loan.
This is your time of need; it’s possible that they will be willing to help you.
6) Finance Divorce with a Second Job, Project, or Hobby
It doesn’t have to last forever but picking up a part-time job, a specific project, or seasonal work can add to your income and keep you busy during your transitional time.
Remember how you used to come up with extra cash mowing your neighbor’s lawn or doing some extra work for your parents? Those options are still out there. Many businesses, like Home Depot and Target, are set up to employ people who have other commitments.
Think out of the box, place an ad, or check out what is available on Craigslist.
Consider trying to earn some money off of what you do for fun.
If you like woodworking, make bird houses, picnic tables, or something else that you can sell online or at a craft fair. If you are good with computers, offer your services as a consultant. Think creatively.
7) Pay for Your Divorce with a Credit Card
You can also open a new credit card, in only your name, and charge divorce fees to it.
This may or may not be the best option to pay for your divorce depending on your credit score and credit limit, but it is an option.
You will need to open a separate bank account, in your name, to pay for your divorce on the credit card. Paying with the credit card from a bank account you and your ex-wife share may negatively affect your divorce outcome.
Keep in mind that divorce is expensive and that you may not be able to charge all legal fees to a credit card. But it can be very beneficial.
These 7 methods are a good starting place to help you gather funds to pay for your divorce.
You’ll be able to alleviate some of the financial burden of divorce with these suggestions.
Divorce is emotionally and financially difficult, but, hopefully, using these tips will help you relieve some stress. Don’t let financial problems hold you back from filing for divorce and living the life you deserve!
Now that you know how to pay for divorce, you are probably wanting to keep the overall cost of your divorce to a minimum. Well, you’re in luck. We have a free, printable checklist of 40 ways you can save money on your divorce!