Divorce is difficult, sometimes necessary, and frequently costly. More often than not, people going through a divorce proceeding woefully overestimate the expense. Fortunately, there are techniques to reduce divorce costs much lower than that. Here are eight examples:
- Choose your process to divorce
The easiest method to save money on a divorce is to avoid a trial. Most divorce attorneys will attempt to resolve your case through court, but there are other options to consider.
You and your spouse can choose to collaborate with a neutral third-party mediator to establish an agreement during divorce mediation. Mediation saves money, since it allows the couple to interact directly with each other, eliminating the middleman (counsel). Typically, divorce mediation costs between $5,000 and $15,000.
In collaborative divorce, the family law attorneys for both spouses work together to obtain an agreement, meeting with both partners to reach an agreement. A collaborative divorce for a couple over the age of 40 could cost between $15,000 and $50,000.
- Use associates and paralegals where possible
You may be able to reduce your attorney expenses by hiring an associate, as associates charge less than partners. The top lawyers have very skilled younger associates. As a result, you should always inquire whether a younger colleague can manage the majority of the case.
Similarly, paralegals can help with some of the legal jobs. The more paralegals in the company, the more economical it will be.
Because lawyers bill for travel time, the location of your attorney affects your expenditures as well. You may save on legal bills if your attorney is close to the courthouse.
- Organize your financial statements
Almost half of what a divorce lawyer does is organize the client’s file and comprehend the client’s finances. You will save a lot of cost if you can be highly organized and acquire all of your financial records and financial records in an organized and orderly method.
It is advised to gather three years of tax returns and three recent pay stubs; bank and credit card statements; recent statements for any mortgage or vehicle loans; investment and retirement account statements; and copies of titles and deeds.
The more you can obtain these records electronically, which is preferred by lawyers, the better as paper documents are more expensive for lawyers to process.
- Email over phone
Your attorney’s time is valuable; therefore, use it wisely.
If you’re clear and concise, email can be a time saver. Just be cautious about what you send over email. While it may feel nice to write an email that allows you to vent, paying your attorney to read that email may not be the best use of your limited resources.
Lawyers do not need to be marked on every single email or text that you and your spouse write to each other.
If you must contact your attorney, make it a scheduled phone call so that you are both ready and focused on what has to be discussed. Prepare a list of questions and take notes during the call so you may refer to them later.
- Payments for appraisals
Home and automobile appraisal fees can be exorbitant. When possible, avoid professional appraisers and reach an agreement with your spouse on a valuation.
For autos, just check a used-car value reference website. Request a comparative market report from any Realtor.
- Simple division of retirement funds
Divorce can be expensive when it comes to dividing retirement accounts. Lawyers will almost certainly be required to write Qualified Domestic Relations Orders, or QDROs. If the accounts are about equal, a less expensive approach is: “You retain yours, and I’ll keep mine. If that isn’t possible, swapping other assets rather than employing a QDRO.
- Division of household items
If you’re arguing over a lamp, chances are it’s not about the lamp. Instead, it’s about a slew of feelings entwined with that object. Before you hire a lawyer to fight it out, try to figure out what’s going on emotionally.
Conclusion The most important thing to remember definitely does not use your divorce attorney as a therapist. While a divorce can be expensive and draining, we hope that the above measures will help you to cut down on the costs.