Financial Costs of Dave Ramsey’s Divorce Checklist


Legal Advice via the Internet

I often get calls from potential clients weekly that ask “Why do I need an attorney? I can get everything I need online.” Not sure why these individuals would call an attorney and make this statement. It seems contradictory, but regardless divorces do not require scalpels, heavy machinery, or lasers, so on the onset it seems like a good way to save some money. However, the internet is a source of DYI hacks that frankly can cost you a lot of money either in an inequitable financial division, or the attorney fees necessary to fix the problem you did following this hack.

Dave Ramsey Show Divorce Advice

One clear example of a hack that will cost you gravely is Dave Ramsey’s Divorce Checklist. This divorce checklist was created by Dr. John Delony who is a Dave Ramsey Personality. Dave Ramsey is big on YouTube in fixing people’s finances for the last thirty years. He is loud, authoritative, and excellent to listen to when doing your 10th load of laundry on a Sunday.

Divorce often comes up as a financial concern in this show and often Dave Ransey will reference a divorce checklist created by Dr. Delony. Dr. Delony has a lot of education including two PhDs, so he is smart enough to realize that one degree he is lacking is a law degree. Though a financial show would likely talk about the financial benefits or detriments of divorce, you should NEVER take legal advice from them except, “talk to a lawyer about divorce.”

Financial Concerns with Dave Ramsey's Divorce Checklist

The divorce checklist in question has some good psychological advice to protect yourself against the tough times of divorce. This list also has good financial advice regarding not using a lawyer as a sword and to be civil during the process.

HOWEVER, before seeking an attorney this checklist recommends you do the following:

  1. Dropping your spouse off your car insurance – DO NOT DO THIS!!!
  2. Change beneficiary of life insurance policies – DO NOT DO THIS!!!
  3. Remove spouse from your will – DO NOT DO THIS!!!

First, all three of these steps are going to cause problems with the Court. If a divorce is filed, most Court will consider these actions contempt of Court which will 1) tick off the Court; 2) make you pay your spouse’s attorney fees; 3) could result in 30 days in jail.

Second, removing a spouse from your car insurance could result in financial disaster. The fact that a “financial guru” is recommending this makes me doubt all other financial advice from this show. Let me explain further with a hypothetical. Your spouse in under huge amounts of distress going through divorce, and while crying and driving, misses the stop sign, hits a car killing the driver. You took your spouse off your car insurance. If your spouse did not take the initiative to get his/her own policy, your spouse will be personally civilly liable for millions. Guess what, as a spouse, you would be sued as well.

Even if you successfully dismiss the civil suit against yourself. The civil suit against your spouse is marital debt. Guess what, marital debt is divided equally, unless there is financial misconduct. Removing a spouse off your car insurance would likely be considered financial misconduct, so guess what?? You are responsible for ALL the civil suit damages through the divorce court. Thanks, Dave, and Dr. Delony!

Finally, you should change your will AFTER your divorce, not before. You cannot disinherit a spouse. Changing your will would likely get you in trouble with the Court and will not be successful in protecting a spouse from electing against the will and getting your inheritance. A spouse is a spouse until the Judge says the magic words and slams the gavel on your final hearing.

Moral of the Story

The moral of the story is that you would not take your wisdom teeth out on your own following a YouTube video, do not do your own divorce. In the end, the cheap will become expensive. If you are thinking of dissolving your marriage or legally separating, contact an attorney at Smith & Smith Law Office to figure out the most financial way to get through this tough period.