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The cost of divorce and how to mitigate it

"It wasn’t until I went through the divorce process myself that I saw things through a new lens," a Charlotte divorce attorney explained.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — There’s no question – divorce is messy. And it can be very expensive costing thousands of dollars. But there are ways to save money if you’re prepared and do a little homework.

According to Yahoo! Finance, "During the pandemic, with couples stuck in the house, homeschooling children and facing financial and health concerns, interest in divorces skyrocketed 34% in the U.S. Newly married couples were the most likely to file for divorce."

Nicole Sodoma, who started her own firm, has been a divorce attorney in Charlotte for 20 years. Even she admits to being surprised by the divorce process.

"It wasn’t until I went through the divorce process myself that I saw things through a new lens."

Money was one of the big lessons she learned.

"A lot of it comes down to the finances."

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One of Sodoma’s clients, Becky Hoover, a financial advisor, said even she was completely overwhelmed by the role money played when she divorced after 20 years of marriage.

"When you signed that contract 20 years prior - when you had nothing - it wasn’t really top of mind, but here the dissection of mortgages, child support, spousal support... How you’re gonna make two households live on one income?" Hoover asks. "Personal property is at least as overwhelming as the emotional aspect."

The finances of divorce are just some of the topics Sodoma covers in her new book – Please Don’t Say You’re Sorry – a lighthearted approach to divorce and marriage. This is actually where Sodoma says the financial conversations need to start: during the marriage, not the divorce.

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"Have real conversations about finances," Sodoma urged.

She also urged getting organized before you contact a divorce attorney. This will save you costs in the long run.

"If you’re calling and emailing every day, your fees are gonna get expensive and there are some things you can’t control."

Most lawyers bill by the hour - even down to the one-tenth of an hour - just for responding to an email.

WCNC Charlotte is always asking "where's the money?" If you need help, reach out to WCNC Charlotte by emailing money@wcnc.com.

According to a recent survey, a divorce involving attorneys costs an average of $7,000. A do-it-yourself divorce can cost as little as $300 but those rarely involve custody arrangements or the division of property.

Women tend to suffer more financially in a divorce than men. This is especially apparent if they've spent time in the home raising children rather than working.

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According to a report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office, women who divorce after the age of 50 see their household income drop by 41%. Whereas men see a 23% dip.

Sodoma said making sure you come out financially stable after everything is done can mean working closely with your attorney.

"Divorce can be so daunting and a full-time job."

Contact Michelle at mboudin@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

   

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