Divorce Law Alert - Did You Know You Can Crowdfund Your Divorce?


This Divorce Alert is brought to you by the Chicago Divorce and Family Law Attorneys at Aronberg Goldgehn Davis & Garmisa and Divorce Magazine.

By: Zephyr Hill

We all know that divorce can be an expensive proposition. There are legal fees, court costs and much more to take into account.

With the advent of crowdfunding – companies like Kickstarter, GoFundMe and Patreon seemingly pop up each day – you can look to the public to finance everything from your nonprofit campaign to your medical bills, to your outsider art, and whatever else you can think of.

Maybe it was only a matter of time, but now there is a website out there to help you crowdfund your divorce.

A few years ago, California couple Sara and Josh Margulis launched the online fundraising platform Plumfund as a way to help people underwrite “life events.” This venture was an offshoot of their first, Honeyfund, a website designed to crowdsource dream honeymoons for newlyweds.

Via their newest outlet, users can raise funds for various causes, support clubs and sports teams, cover medical costs, and even finance birthdays, baby showers and more. Now the website is branching out even further, recently adding an option to help cover the cost of your divorce.

On the site, family and friends (and random strangers, should they feel compelled) of people going through a divorce can donate to help cover the various expenses involved in dissolving a marriage. The idea came to the entrepreneurs after a friend was left in dire financial straits following an antagonistic divorce and lengthy custody fight.

Even in the best of circumstances, divorce can be a drain on your finances. Perhaps this new model for funding the end of your marriage can help offset some of the expenditures, which can add up all too quickly.

Paperwork and Legal Fees

Even if you’re going through an uncontested divorce, one where things are good-natured and amicable, there are still costs. It’s possible to take a do-it-yourself approach to disbanding your union, but even just filing the paperwork costs a few hundred dollars.

From there, if there is any type of friction or back and forth, the investment only increases. If you need to serve your soon-to-be ex, that will cost you. Responding to motions against you has a monetary impact. Appearing in court or going to mediation both come with their own fees. Essentially, every time new paperwork comes into play or you have to show up in front of a judge, you should expect to hand over a few of your hard-earned dollars.

Attorney’s Fees

Divorces rarely happen without at least a degree of conflict or discord. It can be a complicated, contentious process, and as in most legal matters, you will likely be best served by employing an attorney. An experienced lawyer may set your mind at ease, and the skills and experience they bring to the table increase the likelihood of an optimal outcome in your case.

Of course, that peace of mind and guidance comes with a cost. At the very least, there will likely be a consulting charge. This is usually a flat fee. And if you do hire an attorney, expect to pay an hourly rate after that. While you will want to familiarize yourself with your specific attorney’s billing practices and how they break down the charges, these fees can multiply in a hurry.

Child and Spousal Support

If there are children involved, you may be required to provide child support after your divorce. This depends on the custody arrangement reached in the final judgment, but it may be one of the biggest post-divorce costs you face.

Primarily awarded in cases where children are under the age of 18 (in some instances, this can continue until 21), these payments are designed to aid in the continued care and well-being of your kids and cover everything from routine necessities to medical bills and education.

While not awarded in every divorce, spousal support is a cost that may also come into play. This may be ordered to help your former partner meet financial needs following the end of your marriage. Based on what is “fair and equitable” in the circumstances, the final amount may take into account factors such as the future earning potential of both parties, the length of the marriage, health and more.

There are different kinds of spousal support. The type of support that is awarded, and how long the payments continue, will vary from case to case. Some are shorter in duration, while under other conditions, they may remain indefinitely.

Other Costs

So far, most of these are easily anticipated costs. If you hire a lawyer, you probably expect to pay them; and if your ex gets custody of the kids, you likely guessed you’ll have to pay child support. There are, however, less obvious expenses associated with divorce.

Even before the final agreement is signed, odds are you and your spouse will be living apart. That means you may have to set up a new home base, and moving costs can also pile up. If you’re renting, there are your monthly payments, deposits and all kinds of upfront fees. And buying a home comes with its own sizable price tag. Then there are items such as furniture, silverware, the cable bill and other costs of establishing a household. All of this, even the little things, can accumulate quickly.

Along with court costs and attorney’s fees, these are the kinds of expenses that the divorce option on Plumfund was set up to help cover. The target is more the temporary, limited costs. Though, who knows, perhaps you could start a Kickstarter, GoFundMe or Patreon campaign to help pay your child support.

Though it’s an unusual approach, given the current cultural landscape, crowdfunding a divorce is far from the most outlandish idea, and it’s one we’ll probably hear about again. It’s an interesting method to be sure. However, if you’re in a situation where you don’t think you can afford a divorce, perhaps this is an avenue worth exploring.

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