Please enjoy this post from my brother, Brian Porter.  Brian is a father of six kids and works in insurance subrogation.  After his wife asked for a divorce earlier this year, Brian began the long journey of rebuilding his life and finding a new “normal.” 
Divorce sucks.  I know because I’m going through it right now.

divorced

Divorce is an incredibly painful event for both parties and there are times when you just don’t want to deal with the financial aspect of it.  Sometimes it’s just easier to “give up” and deal with the consequences when you’re in a better emotional place.  However, it’s the wrong thing to do.  The good news is that you do not have to be let your financial house burn down while going through a divorce.  The following tips can help you survive a divorce with your finances intact.

Housing

Usually, divorce displaces one or both spouses from their home.  In my situation, we agreed to sell our house as it was just too much for one of us to maintain, even with spousal support.
If you are displaced, consider the following:
  • Consider your support system- While it can really suck to move back home with your parents, a sibling, or a friend, put your pride aside and consider your financial position.  Going through a divorce isn’t cheap and finding an inexpensive or free place to stay temporarily can help ease the burden.  Staying with someone can also provide much needed emotional support while you’re going through the worst of your ordeal.
  • Price shop for a realtor- If you have to sell your house, make sure to compare pricing for the best combination deal of realtor / percentage of commission, while also keeping in mind that you sometimes get what you pay for.  I got lucky;  My realtor agreed to list my house for 5%, instead of the customary 7%.  You might think that 2% isn’t a big deal, but it can be a ton of cash depending on the price of your home.  For example, my house sold the day after I listed it for 99.4% of the asking price ($280,500).   So, shaving off 1% saved me $ 2,805.   Hell, even 0.5% is $ 1,402.50.  Furthermore, if are in a negative equity position or right on the borderline, 0.5% could be the difference walking away with cash in hand or showing up with a check.

Child Support and Assets

Negotiating terms such as child support payments and the division of assets can be incredibly trying, but it’s important to try to disassociate your emotions with your physical possessions.  Since most things are negotiable, it’s in your best interest to attempt to find out the thing(s) your soon-to-be-ex-spouse is emotionally vested in and use those to your advantage while being amicable.  A few other tips:
  • Take and sell anything your soon-to-be-ex-spouse definitely doesn’t want- even if you don’t want it.  Even smaller things have value and you can resell on them on Craigslist or Ebay for a profit.  You can also ask your family members and friends to help if needed.
  • Be willing to part with certain possessions just to sweeten the deal.  Think in terms of the big picture – sometimes you have to lose a battle to win the war.
  • In most states and counties, everything is negotiable when it comes to child support.  And it’s not just money, it’s time with your children.  However, you can negotiate a lower child support by negotiating more time with your children (i.e. overnights), allowing your soon-to-be-ex-spouse to take more tax exemptions, variable payment methods if you work on commission or on a bonus structure (i.e. you may negotiate paying a lower weekly payment but agree on one-time lump sum payments yearly around time of your yearly bonus with work, tax-time, etc.)  Be creative and try to think outside the box.

Divorce Mediation

Divorce mediation is a great way to work out your differences and reach a reasonable agreement in regards to all of the issues outlined above.  In divorce mediation, you hire an impartial mediator or lawyer to sit down with you and broker an agreement.  Not only is divorce mediation a less expensive way to proceed with your divorce, but it also helps you determine where you might have common ground, and where you’re struggling.  In the case of my divorce, we were able to work everything out through a mediator and save a ton of money that can now be saved or spent elsewhere.

Divorce is terrible for everyone involved, but life does go on.  And although divorce isn’t cheap, you don’t have to let it ruin you either.  Just try to keep your head in the game and pinch every penny you can.  You’re going to need them.

Have you ever gone through a divorce or known someone who has?  What tips would you add to this list?