Saving Dollars & Making Sense of Divorce

Here's how you can part ways without taking the financial plunge

divorce was final nearly four years ago, the pain in her voice is still distinct. “When you get the papers, there is a sinking feeling in your stomach,” she remembers. It’s no wonder. Most people rate divorce as one of life’s most stressful events and it’s often difficult to repair the financial and emotional damage. According to Borden, “Divorce causes people to act abnormally,” so you should work hard to maintain an atmosphere of trust.

It also helps to base your decisions on the facts rather than your feelings. Long warns against suing for materi
al goods or financial amounts that are way out of your spouse’s reach. Regardless of what your lawyer says, “you know the earning

ability of your mate and you should try to work within that framework,” Long contends. “If you’re willing to compromise you can do a lot better.”

Fortunately, Miller is taking steps-relocating, spending more time with her grandson and renewing her outlook-to rebuild her life. If you’re thinking about divorce, she suggests you talk to other people who have been through it and realize that no matter how much advice you get, everyone’s experience is unique. Her divorce took six months and cost her $950-neither she nor her husband spent a day in court. But, there was little child support involved and the divorce was uncontested. Says Miller, “Whatever you do, don’t go into it thinking that it’s going to be as easy as mine was.”


  • Social Security and driver’s license numbers
  • Recent tax returns
  • Mortgage statements and other credit and debit statements
  • Copies of bills or receipts for regular expenses (electric, gas, car insurance, etc.)
  • Additional income statements (interest accrued, stocks, bonds or other investment documents)
  • Recent pay stubs for you and your spouse
  • Deeds to any property
  • Titles to cars, boats and other vehicles
  • Wills
  • Health insurance cards and papers
  • Life insurance policies
  • Pension and retirement fund papers and statements
  • Names, addresses and phone numbers of your spouse’s employers, close friends or family members
  • Copies of bills, receipts, insurance forms or medical records for any unusual medical expenses for yourself, your spouse or your children
  • Any other papers showing what you and your spouse earn or owe


  • The parties are able to agree among themselves and enter into an agreement that includes provisions for child support, visitation and property division, and they request that the agreement be incorporated in the final decree,


  • The plaintiff files the complaint and the defendant was served but has never answered,


  • The plaintiff does not know the whereabouts of the defendant and it is done by publication.


  • The parties are not able to agree on the issues that are pertinent to the divorce.
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