5 Best Ways Not To Lose Your ASSets During A Divorce…
There are many things we save for vacations, a new house, or retirement. Divorce isn’t usually on that list. Attorney fees aren’t cheap and paying for divorce can seem nearly impossible if you are already on a tight budget. A study done in 2015 put the average cost of a divorce at $15,500, and that study was done nearly a decade ago.
The cost has continued to rise since then, with the cost varying from state to state. The focus when it comes to the financial portion of your divorce should be to keep things cost-effective while still receiving the most advantageous results for you and your family. Here are a few tips to help you keep legal costs as low as possible.
- Choose your attorney wisely. Many attorneys offer a free initial consultation fee. Take advantage of that and interview a few attorneys to ensure you are hiring one that fits your needs. Remember that a pitbull attorney isn’t necessarily the best solution. Oftentimes, an attorney that specializes in collaborative law will be more cost-effective for you.
- Consider working with a divorce coach to save on costs. A divorce coach is your thinking partner during your divorce. They help walk you through the process for a fraction of the cost of what an attorney charges per hour. Some things a divorce coach can help you with include:
- Decide the next steps to take. If you are in the “should I stay or should I go stage”, you’ll be much better off venting to a divorce coach than an attorney.
- Define your divorce goals in a realistic way. When you are hurt and emotional, it’s easy to want to hurt your ex back in any way possible, but that could end up costing you in the end. A divorce coach is the voice of reason when you need it the most.
- Help you stay organized. There is so much paperwork when you get a divorce- financial affidavits, custody calendars, tax documents. A divorce coach can help you prioritize what needs to be completed first, as well as ensure you don’t forget something important.
- Discuss your goals frequently with your attorney. You should have both short-term and long-term goals when it comes to your divorce. Stay on track by discussing those goals on at least a monthly basis with your attorney. The pandemic has slowed down the divorce process a bit, with many cases backed up in family court, and since your needs may change over time, it’s important to keep your attorney in the loop so they aren’t wasting resources unnecessarily (and adding to your bill).
- Keep your list of non-negotiables low. We’ve all heard about those divorces that last for years where one or both spouses wants to take the other for everything they have. It’s not wise for you emotionally or financially. Compromise is key when it comes to saving costs during a divorce. If spending Christmas morning with your kids is a non-negotiable for you, be willing to give up the kitchen table. Fighting over every little thing will cost you, so choose two or three things to fight for instead. Uncontested divorces can usually be resolved within a year, but cases that go to trial can last double, or even triple, that amount of time.
- Be prepared. The more work you do on your own, the less it will cost you in legal fees. Before you meet with your attorney, have all of your important documents in order, along with a shortlist of non-negotiables and your short-term and long-term goals. The less time you have to spend going over things with your attorney, the more money you’ll keep in your pocket.
While getting a divorce can be costly, staying in an unhappy marriage can cost you a lot more. Your happiness is priceless, so keep that in mind when you pay that initial retainer fee.
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