It goes without saying that divorce is extremely hard. People usually go into marriage with only optimism. Then, for whatever reason, that union breaks down. While some couples decide to divorce each other legally, that can be quite costly, since it involves lawyers, negotiations, and time in a courtroom. So it makes sense to do an informal divorce where the couple just stops being around each other. While this might seem simple from a financial perspective, there are a lot of things to consider before moving ahead with this plan. Here are some of them.
How to Handle The New Living Situation
Usually when there’s a divorce, informal or not, one of the people will move out. That’s going to result in the need for a door lock replacement. This is necessary so that no one can just enter the house without any warning. Hopefully, there will not be any hard feelings or jealousy if one side moves on with their lives and starts dating again. Be upfront about this change. If the person who moves out still needs to get things, then an arrangement should be made for the other one to be home when that happens. It’s a good thing for peace of mind and it can help the informal divorce move along better.
There’s another thing to think about with one person leaving the house – the mortgage. This is obviously only for homeowners.It may be necessary to refinance, but that can depend on the person who’s staying there’s ability to pay. That’s when it might be a good idea to talk to a real estate lawyer.
How to Go About Dividing Up Personal Items
Deciding what to do with wedding rings is also an individual decision. It can be a point of friction, though. One might want to keep theirs as a memory of what they went through, despite it not working out the way that they wanted it to. The others might want to pawn theirs and get whatever money they can for it. Again, communication is going to have to be key here – and one side might have to just accept what the other wants since an informal divorce is not under any legal jurisdiction.
Another potential sticking point is what to do with certain items. One person might have some things that they want to take with them, but they might not have the initial space for them in their new place. They might be afraid that their former spouse might do something to those items and they might not be able to subsequently come back to retrieve them later.
One possible solution is to use a storage company. That way, they can have the items out of their former home and under lock and key and they can make sure that all the items are still there at all times. There are a lot of different options in terms of the amount of storage space available, so people can store all kinds of items, including larger ones like cars. Later on, they can get them when they have more space in their new home. It’s a solution that can make an informal divorce go much smoother.
Another thing that people need to think about is their vehicle. If one person moves out, then they will likely need their own to drive around. A visit to an auto dealer would be a good idea if only to switch the title of one vehicle and the purchase of another one. Each person having their own vehicle can ease the tension of an informal divorce.
The former couple won’t have to worry about who pays for the maintenance of each vehicle – they each take care of their own car. They pay for their own gas and other things. This will allow them to not have to worry about what the other is doing with an auto, which is something that could happen with a one-car situation. Of course, if they live in a place with reliable public transportation, one of them could rely on that to get to where they need to go.
Involving Legal Help
One of the reasons why people like to do an informal divorce is that they don’t need to consult a divorce lawyer. They save on being billed by the hour and they also avoid having to spend any time in an office negotiating or in a courtroom. This will wind up saving them a lot of time and money. But what if there are any legal issues that they might run into? It could be costly to make any mistakes and have to pay a fine.
It might be a good idea to at least have a legal mind to bounce questions off of. There might be some loose ends that one party needs tied up and talking to a divorce lawyer can help take care of that. Using a lawyer as a resource could end up with a lot of money being saved in the long run.
The same goes for talking with a family lawyer. This person could have a lot of legal knowledge that can help ensure that an informal divorce is as painless as possible, especially when children are also involved. This lawyer can assist with things like arranging day care for the children. They can even help them decide on a schedule for who can have the children stay with them on certain weeks. It’s going to have to be up to the parents, though, to make these decisions and pay for these things, including any medical issues.
An accountant is another person who can help with an informal divorce. They can look over the spending patterns of both people and see who spends more on what. This is a great way to figure out who can still pay for certain things without having to bring the legal side of things into it in the form of a judge or arbitrator. Having this impartial third party involved can smooth a lot of things over and keep any acrimony to an absolute minimum.
Properly Take Care of Family Issues
Children are the most important, but there are other family members involved with an informal divorce – pets. Deciding who gets to keep the cat, dog, or even the bird or bearded dragon can be a big deal. It can depend on who the pet has bonded with the most. Of course, feeding the pet, giving it water, and taking it out for walks is only one part of the whole equation. They need to be given vet services too, to help ensure that they will be around for a very long time.
Caring for a pet can be an expensive thing, especially if they get sick and require medication and treatment/surgery. Routine visits, which are necessary, aren’t that cheap either. Being faced with this can be tough, especially since it depends on one’s own financial state. It’s important that this is thoroughly discussed before any decision is made about who will keep the pet.
An informal divorce can also be tricky when it comes to seeing the family dentist or family doctor. This depends on the state of the relationship – it can be awkward to be sitting in the waiting room with an ex. People develop a bond with their doctors or dentists, and it can be hard to find someone that they feel is just as good. Also, there’s the whole transferring of records and filling out forms – both of which can be an enormous pain in the neck. So it might be a good idea to try to keep the status quo as much as possible, especially if the office is close to both people’s places.
One solution could be to schedule appointments that don’t overlap – barring an emergency situation, of course. This way, it’s possible for everyone to get the medical and dental care that they need without having to worry about anyone’s paths crossing. Also, the dentist or doctor won’t have to know about the state of their marriage – this way they can just cite conflicting schedules or any other similar excuse.
Consider These Other Factors
There are other things to consider when it comes to an informal divorce. One of them is when it happens. Are both people retired and the children are gone from the house? This type of scenario can happen when there aren’t any kids or a job around to act as a buffer and the couple may realize that they aren’t very compatible when it’s just the two of them around. Things happen over the course of a life and people can change.
To get back to the question of the empty-nest retirees, they may have this kind of situation to avoid any kind of required payments. Also, one may stay on the other’s health plan, since getting older may require more doctor visits, though that depends on how well they take care of themselves.
Also, it’s a matter of worrying about whether one person has more debt than the other. This would present itself in a true divorce and one might not have enough money to pay for anything. As long as the informal divorce is in place, then they won’t have to worry about that as much, if at all.
Now, if the people who are doing the informal divorce are younger, then they might be just thinking about their economic state. Both the housing and the employment market can be very tough and it would be easier for people who are still technically married to be able to weather it than if both of them were single. If both of them are in secure jobs and would be able to have separate health insurance and still cover their children, if they have any, for as long as they possibly can.
Of course, as far as an informal divorce goes, if one person met someone else and decided that they wanted to marry that person, they would most likely have to then have the formal divorce in order to have a legal union in the eyes of the state that they live in. One of the main reasons that people do go through an informal divorce is to reduce the stress that would happen during a regular divorce. Nothing is perfect, though, so people need to go into this with open eyes to avoid any nasty surprises down the road and handle them if they do crop up.
This isn’t meant to deter you from possibly having an informal divorce. There are plenty of people who do this and they manage just fine. That’s because they tend to think ahead and consider the above scenarios before making the final decision. Both of the people in this strained marriage need to weigh the pros and cons before moving ahead with the plan.
An informal divorce can allow both people to move on with their lives without having significant financial issues holding them back. It can also be a way to show their children that while their parents might have not worked out as a married couple, they can resolve things without anger or lawyers. That can be an excellent solution that is a priceless one that has many benefits for years to come.
Ultimately, what it comes down to is that both people are going to have to communicate with each other about the informal divorce. If they do that and prepare themselves, they can confidently execute the plan. Then they have the rest of their lives ahead of them.