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I want to divorce but am worried about money. What should I do?

Filing for divorce can lift a great many worries off of a person's shoulder, but admittedly, the process can also introduce a few new concerns. Concerns about finances are a rather common worry during divorce, and rightly so. No one wants to come out on the other end without the best financial foundation possible. Maintaining focus on a few different areas of concern can help ensure financial security even after a divorce.

Virtually all couples must handle property division before a divorce can be finalized. While family law in North Carolina follows equitable distribution laws -- meaning that the division of assets should be fair, although not necessarily half and half -- what exactly constitutes fair can be a sticking point for many people. When it comes to things that are easily replaced, such as living room or dining room furniture, it is rarely worth it to head to court and battle it out. Money spent on litigation over a sofa or table can be more aptly applied toward mediation, where the cost of sorting out who gets what is typically much lower.

Aside from fighting over who gets what, it can also be quite expensive to fight over who has to pay for what. When a divorcing couple has a child, expenses related to child-rearing must of course be addressed. Medical costs, tuition fees and other important expenses are often covered in parenting plans and divorce settlements, as they should be, but arguing over lesser costs will often cost parents more in the long run. Minute costs, like lunchboxes or a pair of pants, are usually not financially sound items to argue over in court.

Avoiding litigation is often well advised when the cost of a divorce is a concern for the involved parties. Of course, this is not to imply that heading to court is never an option, as litigation should be exercised as a means to reach a fair and binding divorce settlement when necessary. However, a significant number of divorcing couples in North Carolina are able to otherwise successfully reach an agreeable settlement with the aid of their respective counsels and an impartial mediator.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Four Things That Will Double the Cost of Your Divorce (And How to Avoid Them!)", Morghan Leia Richardson, Dec. 28, 2015

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