It’s not a secret that divorce can be expensive. While your bill at the end of the day will be directly affected by a variety of factors such as the type of divorce you pursue, the lawyer you hire, and how cooperative you and your soon-to-be-ex are with each other. Here are some possible ways to limit the costs of your divorce:
How to Control Your Divorce Budget
It is always adviseable to at least speak to an attorney regarding your rights in divorce, but you and your spose can attempt to negotiate a divorce without the need of attorneys by hiring a mediator. Obviously, this is only a possibility for spouses who are able to work together to some degree and generally only works for couples who are going through an amicable split where polite conversation and open communication is a possibility. If an argument breaks out every time you try to talk to your spouse, you’re at loggerheads about even minor issues or you’re not able to speak with your spouse directly, you will likely need assistance from a professional family lawyer.
Organize Your Information Before Going to a Lawyer
If there’s one thing that will save you time and money in hiring a lawyer to help with your divorce, it’s the proactive steps you take to organize your information, data, and paperwork beforehand. When you can provide structured financial statements that show shared and separate expenses, investments, and purchases, your lawyer won’t need to spend nearly as much time sorting through paperwork or digesting the data they need to proceed with your case or with reaching a resolution. An easy way to do this is to collect income information (paystubs, tax returns, etc.), bank statements, titles, debts, deeds and making a list of what you and your spouse have together and what you would like out of the divorce.
Be Forthcoming with Your Divorce Attorney & Maintain Communication
Once you’ve hired an attorney, you will go through a series of meetings and need to answer a variety of questions in order to put together your case and terms of your divorce. Whether this is through a scheduled sit-down or phone call, you’ll need to be open and available to your attorney and be communicative to keep the process moving along. If you don’t show up for meetings or continuously screen their calls, you’ll see fees from your law firm for the time wasted and it will likely affect the length of the divorce and thus the cost of the divorce.
Be Realistic with Your Expectations & Ready to Compromise
Divorces are rarely cheap, but the cost of divorce should not be the reason to stay in a marriage that isn’t working. To reduce the cost, you should try to be realistic about certain issues and understand that divorce will likely not cost an insignificant amount of money. The more issues you have that require motions and court interference to resolve, and the less you are able to reach an agreement with your spouse, the more your divorce will cost. It can save you a considerable amount of money to think in terms of cost-benefit analysis and avoid pitfalls like requiring court decisions about how to divide low-value items, digging your heels on issues for purely pride-related reasons and the like. This is not to say you cannot fight for everything you want, but be aware that the cost of a divorce is directly related to the amount of conflict.
What Should You Do Next?
Whether you have agreed to divorce already or your spouse blindsided you by demanding or filing an unexpected divorce, cost is often one of the first concerns that people have. Having a frank conversation with your divorce attorney about your financial concerns can go a very long way. At the Law Office of Dorene A. Kuffer, we will endeavor to work with you to formulate a plan to minimize your cost. Our team of experienced family law attorneys will walk you through every step of the divorce process and help you understand what your options are as you start looking at your budget. Contact us to learn more.