Divorce can be an expensive process. Here are some ways to reduce divorce costs, especially when you need to pay for the changes in your life after the divorce.
Divorce can be an expensive process. The expense of attorney costs alone could be thousands of dollars, and there may be extra costs associated with adjusting your life after divorce. In most cases, partners who dissolve their marriages feel that they have suffered financially.
The final cost of your divorce will depend in many ways on your actions and choices, regardless of how your spouse approaches the issue. Therefore, organize yourself and take the appropriate practical steps by following the tips below.
It’s easy to get caught up in the emotion of divorce, but making all of your decisions based on that can be a mistake. Educate yourself on divorce and matters related to it. Knowing more will save money you would have spent on hiring an attorney to educate you or get you out of the situation.
Know The Laws Of The State
Look up the divorce laws of your state in a local library or on the Internet. By being informed, you will be able to interact more effectively and efficiently with your lawyer and spouse.
Recognize What Needs Attention
The first thing you should do is make a list of everything you and your spouse can agree on. As long as you address those things first, you may be able to save money by hiring a paid professional just to resolve the areas of disagreement. Furthermore, you may realize that you agree on all the major issues, and the others aren’t worth fighting over.
Avoid The Courtroom
If you want to save money, don’t go to trial. Due to COVID, the courts around the country have been extremely backlogged (sometimes by a year or more). Because the courts are now much more sluggish than before, it is more vital than ever to try to resolve disputes outside of the courtroom. Here are a few options to consider:
In mediation, the couple appoints a neutral third party to assist them in settling. The mediator does not make decisions for the parties; rather, he or she assists in agreeing on topics such as custody of children, childcare, and wealth distribution. Mediation is a quick and cost-effective way for divorcing parties to resolve their differences without the involvement of the court.
Both spouses agree on a neutral third party to oversee, direct, and lead the negotiation between them in an arbitration case. The arbitrator has the authority to make binding rulings for both sides.
Collaborative Family Law
The divorced couple, their lawyer, and additional experts (such as a child psychiatrist or wealth manager) collaborate in collaborative family law to reach an agreement and avoid going to court. During facilitated discussions, participants work together to resolve open issues collaboratively.
Avoiding court does not necessarily mean not hiring a lawyer. However, before hiring an attorney or a mediator, try to work things out and be open to a compromise. You should then consult with an attorney to look over your divorce papers and ensure you didn’t do anything that wasn’t intended. By doing this, you can speed up the process and save money.
Reduce Filing Fees
Filing a divorce petition varies depending on which state and which county you reside in. Talk to your local courthouse about filing fees. Most people who can’t afford a divorce aren’t aware that the divorce petition filing price can be eliminated as well. If you can demonstrate economic hardship, the court can waive the filing fee upon reviewing your written affidavit.
Choose Professional Help Carefully
Retaining an attorney may require you to spend some money in advance, but on the whole, it can save money. With experienced divorce attorneys at your side, you can focus on what matters in your divorce and fight for the right issues. But remember the following things:
Consider how you are going to pay the attorney’s fee. An agreement to be billed hourly by a lawyer is like signing a blank check. Be careful and find a lawyer who can tell you upfront what your divorce will cost. Many law companies offer clients the option of paying in installments. This is a question you should ask if you’re looking for a divorce lawyer and can’t determine who to choose. Most good divorce lawyers, on the other hand, require a retainer upfront.
Use your attorney as little as possible. The best attorneys have capable junior associates. Inquire if they can handle the majority of the case. Paralegals can handle some of the legal work as well. Inquire about your divorce lawyer’s firm’s solicitors or paralegals, as they are less expensive.
To hold legal fees down, don’t rely on your spouse’s lawyer to do all the work. Opposing counsel is not inclined to safeguard your interests.
Other Ways To Minimize Legal Fees
Your lawyer’s time is valuable. Avoiding protracted phone discussions and overly long meetings with your attorney, as well as communicating via email, can help you save money on legal bills.
Keep organized with your paperwork and do much of the document “homework” on your own. Provide the necessary paperwork on time. You should spend some time getting your financial records right and not let your attorney take care of them. Taking reasonable positions in negotiations and avoiding protracted litigation can also help you save money.
By representing yourself (pro-se-divorce) and if your spouse does not respond, you may be able to reduce costs. With this technique, you can get divorced without going to court, saving a large amount of money on attorney fees and other costs. However, pro-se divorce does not work well in cases involving disputes over children.
Consider Online Divorce
More and more people are utilizing online divorce services (such as LegalZoom, 3StepDivorce, etc.). This is because they can save thousands of dollars. The best use of online services is for uncontested divorces, which means that both spouses understand the divorce and its dissolution components.
Divorce is painful, sometimes necessary, and often costly. The best way to reduce divorce costs is to avoid going to court. But to do so, you and your spouse need to work together.