Getting married is easy. Getting divorced often proves to be a far more complicated legal process. Once married, you are in a binding legal contract with your spouse. “Untying the knot” can costs thousands, or tens of thousands in a contested divorce. The issues in contention most are often associated with child custody and visitation… and money. The matters that must be resolved for the divorce to be final include child custody, child support, spousal support and the fair division of marital property. If you are planning to divorce and hope to avoid a long and bitter court battle that will cost you dearly, we have gathered together some simple strategies that can save you thousands. You can directly control the costs of divorce through your approach.
- Find a divorce lawyer in your area who is experienced and who has a favorable reputation, and who will speak with you honestly and openly about the actual cost of the divorce, including legal fees and filing fees. A divorce in which the agreement is made out of court can often cost as little as $1,500 if you go to the right law firm.
- Set aside the emotional issues that led to your breakup. If you make the decision to work in a respectful manner with your soon-to-be-ex, it is often possible to come to a compromise that works for both of you, and a better agreement that you can both live with – and is fair.
- Be honest when presenting your financial scene. Never attempt to hide or reduce the value of assets that may be considered marital property. If you are honest, the other party will be more willing to work with you and be fair to you in return.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff. Fighting over minor details can get in the way of solving the major issues in the divorce. Be willing to compromise and to set aside minor disagreements.
- Your children belong to the both of you – and their needs are more important than yours. It is important that you maintain a respectful relationship. Children need both parents, and working out a custody/visitation schedule between you will save you a great deal of money. The last thing the court wants to do is have to step in and solve a child custody case merely because you refuse to work together. Come to an agreement about custody and visitation between yourselves, with the help of a lawyer and/or divorce mediator.
- Always have a divorce lawyer review any agreement before you sign. Although saving money is important, there is no need to make sacrifices you don’t have to under state law. It is also very important that you completely understand any tax implications in property division.
- Put it in writing. If you have questions or concerns, you can waste a great deal of money by discussing every detail with your attorney verbally. Your attorney is a legal professional who is working to help you with divorce, and to be blunt, is not in the business of resolving your emotional issues.
Uncontested Divorce: Cheaper and Better
A lawyer that works to keep you and your former partner from communicating, and presses you to be aggressive and take your case to trial may or may not have your best interests at heart. The costs of litigation are extensive. Every hour your lawyer spends in court will be charged to you, as well as all the preparation for presentation of your case. Some attorneys make promises that may be impossible to keep. Issues such as spousal support, child support and property division can be resolved outside of court in many cases. When this is impossible, of course, litigation is the remaining option.
If your attorney is urging you to take your case to trial, consider how that will impact your life. In many cases, wrapping it up in a reasonable and respectful manner may be a better solution. Not only will you be able to move forward with your new life, you are not left dealing with a divorce for a year or much longer. Moving on faster can be far better for everyone.
Divorce is tough, particularly in a marriage of long duration. You built a life together, but it is over. The court is not the correct place to try to punish your spouse. Look to the future. You are in a time of transition, and it can be stressful, both financially and emotionally. Saving money in the divorce will leave more available funds to establish a new home and deal with the other costs you will incur. Put your attention on your future life rather than the problems of the past, and you may find yourself in a far better position.