How the growing rate of inflation will affect different aspects of our life seems to be a question on most of our minds these days. If you are wondering whether you will see the impacts of inflation on divorce, the answer is very likely “yes.”
The causes and effects of inflation run deep and can spread like a toxic mold into areas you least expect them. However, there are some things that happen that are predictable and straightforward. It is sensible to take these things into account as you go forward with your divorce or if you are considering some sort of modification of an existing child support or divorce order.
Impacts of Inflation on Divorce
Generally, the cost of most everything increases with inflation, so you should expect that will be true of your legal services as well. Law firms, just like other businesses, are facing increasing salaries, rents, and daily expenses. Expect to see higher costs in hourly attorney and paralegal fee rates.
Court filing fees in Washington have been stable for a number of years, but it will not be surprising for us to see an increase in the cost of filing with the court sometime in the near future.
Guardian ad Litems and other professionals like accountants and psychologists are used as expert witnesses. They set their fees based on the same criteria as other businesses. Though the fees for these services may already seem high, it is likely they will increase with inflation.
Changes in income by either or both parties can alter child support obligations. Certainly, it’s thrilling to get a big salary increase or to make a move to a better-paying job, but be aware of how those changes may expose you to increased child support obligations.
As the cost of living increases and budgets get stretched thin, co-parents may become more demanding of additional support managing and paying for things like child care, sports and class fees, equipment, educational needs, and clothing.
Separation and divorce usually entail taking a combined income used to support one household and splitting it in some way to support two separate households. With increasing rents and home prices, sorting out housing issues is sure to cost more.
New home purchases and/or refinancing are often components of settlement agreements in dealing with the family home. Rising interest rates may make purchase and/or refinance options more difficult or even impossible in some situations.
In those circumstances where spousal support is warranted, the obligation may be a higher monthly amount or cover a longer period of time due to the increased cost of daily living. There may also be an increased risk of an ex asking the court to modify an existing agreement to increase payments based on inflation.
Transporting children for scheduled visitations may become more of a point of contention when fuel, airfare, and other travel costs are increasing rapidly. Take your future commitments seriously and factor in your anticipated costs before agreeing to a plan for transporting the children.
No one is immune from the stress that comes from trying to manage the effects of inflation. So, you are not alone in that challenge. Still, separation and divorce take a huge emotional toll, even in the best of situations. Be cautious and stay aware of how these extra burdens affect you personally and how they affect your spouse. Try to avoid emotional responses that may derail your efforts to reach an amicable agreement and resolve the disputes in your divorce or modification action.
How to Approach the Impacts of Inflation on Divorce
There are no easy solutions to the impact of inflation on any of our lives. However, awareness of the potential problems, forethought and advance planning, and purposeful action can minimize its effects on your own life and any legal action you are taking.
This is not a time for spontaneous or emotional moves. Grab paper and pencil and go through the issues listed above. Consider if or how each of them might affect your personal circumstances. Next, consider how you might deal with each issue. Hire a good legal team to protect your interests. Communicate candidly with your attorney about your concerns. Then, rely on your attorney to work with you on minimizing the unavoidable influences of inflation on your case.
The first step in making a plan is having some idea of what to expect. So, try to become more knowledgeable about the short-term and long-term economic effects of inflation. Take advantage of professionals who are willing to discuss your concerns. Consult real estate agents, an investment counselor, or your local banker. Look into free or low-cost financial tools from your bank or credit union. Then, your discussions with your attorney can be better targeted, which will save you time and money in attorney fees.
Many of the decisions made in the divorce process have long-term financial consequences. It is important to remind yourself to approach financial issues with more of a business mindset than an emotional response. It can also be reassuring to feel like you understand and are addressing the issues at hand.
Call Divorce Lawyers for Men Now
While going through a divorce during a period of high inflation may be challenging, you can offset some of that stress and be invested in the legal process and life transition you are going through. Be smart, be prepared, and be well-represented.
The attorneys at Divorce Lawyers for Men are experienced in dealing with finances in divorce. We specialize in legal representation for men in Washington state.