Paying for college or paying for your attorney: the finances of divorce

By April 27, 2016Divorce

Paule, Camazine & Blumenthal, P.C. posted in Divorce on Wednesday, April 27, 2016.

By Alisse C. Camazine

Some divorce cases result in tremendous attorneys’ fees. While many may think this is a lawyer’s dream, it isn’t. Too many people spend too much on divorce attorneys rather than using that money for their children’s college because of very human emotions: hatred and animosity. While one party may be more “at fault” in a divorce than the other, there is generally some fault on both sides. But despite the bad actions of your spouse, putting aside hatred is not just the right thing, it can save you thousands in fees. The right thing means:

  1. Setting aside your anger in front of the children.
  2. Remembering that children need and love both parents.  The research is clear that the kids that do the best are those whose parents allow meaningful contact with both parents (except in the rare circumstances of serious mental illness or substance abuse).
  3. Parenting styles vary in spouses who are married and also divorced, but just because your approaches to parenting are different, it doesn’t mean one is right and one is wrong.  Respect the differences. Getting a divorce doesn’t mean that you can stop co- parenting.
  4. Children need to know their parents communicate; if you don’t, your children may exploit this, and often to their detriment.
  5. Understand the financial differences in the households post-divorce. Single parents can’t always pay for music lessons, high quality childcare, tutors, vacations, etc.  but that doesn’t mean they are bad parents.
  6. Don’t make your children change schools just because you don’t want to agree with your ex. Understandably, you may not be able to afford to keep your kids in private school, but don’t refuse to do it just because you are mad.  On the other hand, if you can’t afford it, then jointly agree things have to change.  Be realistic. The same goes for college: understand and communicate with your children about what you can and cannot afford.
  7. Divorce does not mean one parent is cut out of your children’s life just because they may have been a bad spouse. Being bad in marriage doesn’t necessarily mean the person is a bad parent. Low conflict divorces are the best medicine for having your children come out of a divorce in good shape; do your best to work towards that goal, and save yourself thousands in fees as a result.

For any family law question, please contact the attorneys at Paule, Camazine & Blumenthal, P.C.

Disclaimer

Alisse C. Camazine

Alisse C. Camazine

In her almost 40 years of practice, Alisse Camazine has become one of the leading family law practitioners in the St. Louis area, focusing on child custody and complex divorce and property litigation. She has been listed in Best Lawyers for Family Law since 1993, and has been named St. Louis Lawyer of the Year for family law.