We’ve all heard the stories. Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner are still married and living on the same property but no longer acting like a married couple. While their rich and famous and are choosing to reside together for reasons that have nothing to do with the money, there are thousands of other couples who do not have a choice. They must live together simply because they cannot afford to get a divorce.
Recently on our legal forum a woman asked, “My husband cheated on me and I want to leave, but I do not have a job and I am responsible for caring for my three young children. Now I am trapped at home with no apparent way out. What are my options for protecting my family?”
Steps if you cannot afford a divorce
It is definitely a trend- more and more couples are holding off on filing for divorce because of plunging housing prices, unemployment, and stagnant salaries. But just because you cannot afford to divorce does not mean you should do nothing.
Let’s take a look at some common sense steps you can take now that will help you whether or not your marriage can be saved.
- Get good marital counseling.
The best way to determine if your marriage can be saved is to get good marriage counseling. Whether it’s financial advice, communication advice, or conflict resolution, a good marriage counselor can help couples navigate the most common marital issues.
Many couples, Ben and Jen included, have found that giving injured parties time to heal following infidelity may be enough to save the marriage, especially if the offending party is contrite and ready to make amends.
- Talk to a financial planner.
Another step you and your husband can take is to discuss your financial situation with a financial planner. If you do intend to divorce the planner can help you establish individual budgets and start to live on one salary. They can also discuss the need to adjust life insurance policies and investments.
- Discuss your case with a mediator.
If you want to file for divorce but cannot afford to hire a lawyer you might benefit from hiring a mediator and filing for divorce on your own. Mediators can help you resolve a host of potentially contentious legal issues and come to the court with a plan in which you both agree.
- Evaluate how to dispose of your assets.
The real estate market has improved in many parts of the country. This means that couples who could not sell their house several years ago may now be able to not only sale their home but realize a profit after the sale. If you have been living together for several years you might now be able to sell your house, divide the profits, and find another home.
Not all marriages can be saved. Some marriages, however, simply need some time to breathe. If you have been living with your spouse and have contemplated divorce it’s important to take the right steps before filing for divorce.
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