Some North Carolina couples reach a point where they want to consider ending a marriage that’s no longer working for them. Taking this step isn’t unheard of. After all, about half of all first marriages end in divorce. The stats are even more alarming for subsequent trips down the aisle. Barring instances of spousal abuse or violence, it’s generally advised that couples consider the possible financial challenges that legally splitting may present.

First, there are legal fees. Even when a separating spouse works with an affordable family law attorney, costs could still add up if a couple ends up bickering about every detail. Plus, there may be additional fees involved with hiring a real estate agent, a financial planner and other professionals. Some exes also have added expenses for counseling if there are serious emotional issues associated with the end of a marriage.

The marital home may be another potential source of unexpected financial burdens. A former spouse who insists on keeping the home, for instance, may find themselves struggling to maintain it without the added income from their ex. Selling the home can be equally troublesome if a rush to close a deal leads couples to accept a low offer. Housing marketing fluctuations can also contribute to financial losses for couples, and newly single individuals may have to absorb costs for moving and relocating to a new home. Also, if there is a desire to hold onto the marital home for a while to get a better offer, there might be a brief need to juggle expenses for two homes.

If a couple determines that a legal split is the right decision, there may be a temptation to forego working with a family law attorney in an attempt to save money. However, not working with a lawyer might contribute to costly missteps, especially when it comes time for soon-to-be-former-spouses to work out divorce settlement terms. Legal input may also minimize contentious debates over joint assets and big ticket items like homes, vehicles and lucrative financial accounts.