As you are undoubtedly aware, inflation is on the rise in the United States, with the cost of goods and services rising quicker than they have in more than four decades. There is no way to not feel this in some capacity, whether at the grocery store or at the gas pump. In general, cost of living is on the rise, and this is a consideration you will want to factor into your decision to divorce.
Waiting vs. Not Waiting for Divorce
With so much uncertainty dominating our day-to-day lives, whether through the lingering effects of the pandemic, inflation, or global and national unrest, you might wonder if now is the right time to pursue a divorce. This is common. Change is something most people naturally resist, even wanted change. When facing the prospect of a large change during times of economic uncertainty, you might convince yourself that waiting is for the best.
In actuality, though, inflation is likely to have little impact on your divorce. The division of assets are rarely based on a specific dollar amount, rather a percentage. Fifty percent is always going to mean 50%. That said, inflation can affect the value of assets, such as your home, and since the cost of goods is in a state of flux right now, you might need to have your material wealth appraised more than once if you wait too long.
Additionally, waiting to file your uncontested divorce could actually end up costing you, particularly if current inflation rates continue to rise. Filing fees, legal fees, and other costs associated with divorce are as susceptible to inflation as everything else.
Inflation & Cost of Living Adjustment
You’re going to feel the effects of inflation from every angle, and as such, current inflation rates and trends should be a part of the discussion you have with your spouse and legal counsel. A cost-of-living adjustment (or COLA) clause in your divorce decree is something you may want to consider, as you may be able to adjust the money received for child support automatically. The caveat here is that what goes up can also come down, and should cost-of-living decrease, so could the payments.
Cost-of-living adjustments are typically made on a yearly basis and factored by considering a source like the Consumer Price Index, or another trusted economic indicator. If an increase (or decrease) is determined appropriate, the payments should be adjusted automatically with this clause in your agreement.
What You Can Do Now
An uncontested divorce streamlines the divorce process in pretty much every way. If one of the things you have agreed upon is to sell the home you share, this is something you can pursue immediately without waiting for the divorce decree. You can craft an agreement with your spouse so that the money is escrowed while the uncontested divorce agreement is being filed.
Make inflation part of the conversation you have with your attorney and your spouse to ensure the agreement you reach is one that will benefit you now and down the line. Do not hesitate to reach out to Bruce Galloway Law with any questions you might have about the impact of inflation on your divorce.