The Cost of Divorce

Costs of divorceThe Cost of Divorce with Children 

If you have children and decide to move out of the marital home, you need to consider the cost of having two homes. In the beginning of your divorce, you and/or your spouse will be faced with many extra living expenses which will make it difficult to live the lifestyle you are accustomed to. Let’s take a look at an example…

James, a father of two, has decided to leave his wife and move into an apartment. They have agreed that the children are to remain with his soon-to-be ex-wife. James has to pay for all expenses associated with his new apartment combined with a monthly support amount (spousal and child support). He must also consider the cost of moving. This includes a rental deposit, moving expenses, time off of work to move, utility connection fees, and rental storage. However, the cost of moving is negligible in comparison to the total cost over time.

In some cases, the assets are completely obliterated in legal fees. If this were the case for James, he would be starting over financially. Instead of owning a home, he is now forced to live in a rented apartment with half of his original income. With this situation, it will take a number of years before James is able to get back on his feet financially again.

Since James has children, he will need to have a room for them. Instead of living in a studio or one bedroomed apartment, he will need at least a two-bedroomed apartment. If James is like most fathers, he will only be able to see his children a few days out of the month (every other weekend). The remaining days in the month the children’s room will not be in use.

On the contrary, James’ soon-to-be ex-wife will be trying to maintain the past standard of living for the children and herself on half of the monthly income that once was available. If his soon-to-be ex-wife decided to get a job or increase her hours at an existing job, the expenses of child care will easily offset the additional income earned.

Another cost most spouses do not see is the total financial burden over a lifetime. This includes child support until the age of 18 or the age of majority is reached and spousal support up to the age of retirement. For example, let’s say you were married at age 20 and divorced at age 31. You are now considered a long-term marriage (over 10 years). Let’s also say your spouse does not remarry. This means you could be faced with paying support for another 34 years.

Everyday Expenses After a Divorce 

Some married couples split the financial responsibilities, especially when both are employed. Married couples who have always split expenses generally have an easier time adjusting financially to a single life. Fortunately or unfortunately, both spouses do not always work, or their monthly salaries are not equal. If you are in this type of situation, beware because a life-style change will most likely be in the picture, at least in the near term.

By living in the same house, your expenses are reduced. Utilities and the bond is a shared benefit of the marital household. This assists in elevating the standard of living and increasing savings for emergencies, vacations, investments, and retirement. When living alone (post separation or divorce), the living expenses increase by virtue of its division by 1. That is, only you are using the items paid for. This is easily recognized when comparing a family of four sharing the same home. The cost of basic necessities in a case like this is decreased by a factor of four.

Divorce Attorney and Other Divorce Professional Fees

If you are the sole provider or breadwinner of the marriage, you will probably get stuck with paying the attorney fees for you and your spouse. The thought behind this is simple. You are the one working and therefore the only one capable of paying the fees. However, the thought of having to pay your spouses attorney fees may not be as bad as you think, as long as the court takes this into consideration in the property award. On the other hand, you may get what seems to be a very generous property settlement, only to find out that you are also assuming an enormous amount of unexpected legal fees.

The Expense of Your Personal Time

The amount of time required to finalize a divorce can be nauseating. You will need to supply your attorney (and potentially other professionals) with countless documents and transmissions. They will ask for details in your life you forgot about or did not realize were relevant, let alone even existed. You will need to research numerous subjects from bank account numbers to mortgage companies and loan numbers. The time required to supply the requested information is exhausting. This task of collecting this vital data is further complicated with shortened time frames.

Your attorney will need time to review and evaluate the information submitted. Your attorney will also need time to construct a declaration or to place the information properly into court documents. Gathering the necessary information will require sacrificing time from your work (this can mean using vacation days).

You are probably assuming you will be able to manage your divorce outside of your work time. This may be partly feasible, but many of the people you need to be in contact with are only available during your work schedule. This loss of your valuable time does not include appearances in court. Commuting and waiting for your turn in court also results in lost wages and time.

Medical and Health Costs During Divorce

The toll taken on your body cannot be valued in dollars. Many people have lost years of their life due to the emotional drain the divorce process puts them through. Their physical appearance and health becomes withered with time.

The cost in long-term illness like depression, high blood pressure, and heart disease also cannot be replaced. Medication and hospital admissions can cost thousands of dollars in as little as a few months. The long-term financial expenditure may span hundreds of thousands of dollars.

There are many recorded deaths during this stressful period as well. The mental and emotional strain has been directly attributed to the divorce process. The loss of reality has led to many traffic deaths. Intoxication as an escape from the stress has had deadly ramifications.

Moving Expenses Caused by Divorce 

A number of utility companies require a deposit. Some do not if you have a track record of a good payment history, but do not forget that there are fees associated with the initial connection or activation of a service. If your new home is a rented apartment, you’ll be required to pay a deposit prior to moving in. This does not include renting a storage facility for personal items. The services which you will need to get connected include, electricity, gas, refuse removal, water, telephone, and Dstv.

If you have a large quantity of items to move, you may need to hire a professional moving company. If your move is local, it is suggested to move as many things as you can yourself. The cost for a moving company is typically charged by day or by the hour. If you decide to move your personal belongings on your own, you still may need to rent a trailer or moving truck. Most truck rental companies will rent by the day, so be sure to have everything boxed up and organized before you pick up the truck.

Extracts from an article which originally appeared on

Posted by Sinta Ebersohn (Creator of – Stellenbosch)