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Should I Use a Personal Loan to Pay for My Divorce?
Between paying court fees, attorneys’ fees and other costs, getting a divorce can come with a high price tag. Taking out a personal loan to pay divorce expenses is something you might consider if you don’t have savings or other assets you can tap into right away.
Using a personal loan to pay for a divorce can help relieve financial stress in the short-term. But it’s also important to consider any potential long-term impacts to your finances.
Can you get a personal loan for a divorce?
One of the great things about personal loans is that lenders typically allow a lot of flexibility in how you can use them. While home improvements or debt consolidation are some of the more obvious ways to put a personal loan to work, using it to pay for a divorce is another possibility.
For example, you might use a personal loan to pay for:
- Court filing fees
- Attorneys’ fees
- Property appraisal fees
- Tax advisor fees
- Child custody evaluator fees
Beyond that, you may also need money to help cover day to day living expenses, such as housing, utilities, food and child care. A personal loan can help you meet those expenses while you await the resolution of your divorce case.
Is a personal loan a good option for a divorce?
Given how expensive a divorce could end up being, a personal loan offers some financial breathing room in the near-term. While using your emergency fund means you wouldn’t necessarily have to borrow, accessing savings and other assets in the midst of a divorce could be challenging if those accounts are in both spouses’ names. For instance, there might be a court order in place that prevents either spouse from taking money out of the account.
Besides that, personal loans can offer certain advantages compared to other borrowing options, such as opening a credit card in your name, getting a loan from friends and family or tapping your home equity or retirement accounts.
Benefits of personal loans for divorce include:
- Potentially higher borrowing limits if you have good credit
- Flexible repayment terms that can fit your budget
- Lower interest rates for creditworthy borrowers
- Unsecured personal loans don’t require collateral
Of course, getting a personal loan to pay for divorce could be a little more difficult if you have poor credit or thin credit history because most of your marital debt is in your spouse’s name. And a lack of income could also be an obstacle if your spouse was the primary breadwinner.
What to consider when getting personal loan for divorce
If you’re thinking of using a personal loan to pay for a divorce, there are a few key things to keep in mind.
First, consider how likely you are to be approved for a personal loan based on your:
- Credit score
- Employment status and history
- Debt-to-income ratio
The better your credit history, the more likely you are to be approved for a personal loan. Having fair credit won’t count you out from getting a loan, but you may not qualify for the lowest interest rates.
RELATED: How to Improve Your Credit Score
Next, consider the most important details of a personal loan and how repaying it fits into your budget. Specifically, that means weighing the monthly loan payment and the number of payments you’ll be required to make.
Opting for a longer loan term can reduce your monthly payment and give you more time to pay back what you borrow. But the trade-off is paying more interest overall compared to a personal loan with a higher monthly payment and a shorter term.
Finally, think about your alternatives for paying for a divorce without a personal loan. You may be able to ask the court to order your spouse to pay for court and attorneys’ fees, for example. Or your attorney may be willing to accept a payment plan from you to cover their fees. If you and your spouse are on good terms, they may agree to an uncontested divorce which can be much less expensive and time-consuming for both of you.
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Get prequalified for a personal divorce loan
When considering a personal loan to pay for a divorce, it can be helpful to get prequalified for a loan. Personal loan lenders can pre-qualify you to help you gauge what loan terms and interest rates you’re most likely to qualify for. That can aid you in deciding whether to use a personal loan or another funding option to pay for divorce.
Before getting prequalified, first check to see if it requires a hard or soft pull of your credit. A hard pull can trim points off your credit score and show up on your credit reports. A soft pull is preferable, since you can get rate quotes for a personal loan without affecting your credit score. That can help your score intact until you’re ready to apply for a loan.
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Rebecca Lake is a freelance writer specializing in personal finance, credit and debt. She’s a contributor to U.S. News and World Report, Forbes Advisor and The Balance and her work has appeared online at CreditCards.com, MyBankTracker, Money-Rates.com and dozens of other top publications.