The Real Cost of a Divorce

By Carla Fried - 2013-11-25T13:43:42Z

Photograph by Charles Gullung/Getty Images

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Breaking Up is Hard to do 

As if the emotional toll weren't rough enough, couples who split must then confront harsh financial realities. It’s not just the cost of getting the divorce, but also the often-extreme lifestyle shift that comes when one household cleaves into two. A 2012 General Accountability Office report found that women’s household income fell 41 percent on average; it was more than 20 percent for men. “People say, ‘I have to get out of this marriage,’ but after digging into the numbers they're shocked and wonder if they can afford it,” says Tracy Stewart, a certified public accountant who specializes in divorce.