5 Reasons Why Divorce Can Break the Bank…
You’ve heard of sticker shock from making big purchases like a house, car, even a wedding… but sticker shock from divorce? Yes, it’s very real, and there are many reasons why it’s so expensive. The good news is, that although traditional divorce is quite costly, there are ways you can minimize the sticker shock of your own divorce. Let’s first explore why that divorce cost is so high:
The legal system is confusing.
Even the most organized person can find all of the paperwork associated with a divorce confusing and cumbersome. What petition needs to be filed when and where? How does my spouse respond? Who serves who? The list goes on. Add in a complicated financial situation and custody negotiations like many divorces have, and you can see why so many people decide to just bite the bullet and hire an attorney.
The legal system in some states is designed to discourage DIY divorces.
While doing the entire divorce process on your own is possible, it’s certainly not an easy feat. Some states make you jump through hoops when it comes to completing the necessary paperwork and filing it. Although court clerks can be very helpful, they aren’t allowed to give you legal advice, so in many cases, it’s difficult to complete all of the steps of the divorce process without an attorney.
Courts can be incredibly slow.
Even before the pandemic, the legal system was known to move at a snail’s pace. If you have hired an attorney to represent you, all that time adds up to more money coming out of your pocket. Every phone call, email, court appearance, etc is ticking away at your retainer, unfortunately, a lot faster than the clock is ticking.
Some attorneys can drag out the divorce process.
While there are certainly attorneys out there that have their client’s best interest in mind, there are still some that allow their egos to get in the way, potentially driving up an already expensive bill even higher. A good attorney should be able to advocate for their client while also balancing their needs versus their wants.
The divorce process is set up to pit one spouse against the other.
Any type of war is costly, and that includes one between spouses. Everything from the wording on the divorce papers to how divorce is represented in movies and on television almost encourages fighting in a divorce. Unfortunately, with that mentality comes a hefty price tag.
What can be done to cut down on divorce costs?
- Do as much as you can on your own (the court clerk is your friend in this endeavor!)
- If you work with an attorney, choose them wisely. Don’t be afraid to interview a few before making a decision.
- Consider mediation. Even if you hire an attorney to review the marital separation agreement (MSA), you will still save a good chunk of money on the preparation of it by working with a mediator.
- Make a list of two or three non-negotiables, then be willing to compromise on the rest.
- Get support with the emotional side of things. The less you hash out emotionally with attorneys, the more money you will save. Our Split.fyi community is here to support you through every step of the divorce process!
Going through a divorce is hard enough without adding an exorbitant amount of legal fees into the mix. With proper planning and execution, you can save money on your divorce, and apply those savings towards bettering your post-divorce life!
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