Posted on: 11 August 2015
In addition to being quite emotionally difficult, divorce is also notoriously expensive. On average, divorce in the United States costs each couple a whopping $18,000. Luckily, if you and your spouse have decided that divorce is definitely the best option for you there are several things you can do to help lower the cost. Here are five ways to keep divorce costs down:
Aim for an Uncontested Divorce
If at all possible, aim for an uncontested divorce. An uncontested divorce is one in which both parties agree to the divorce and also to the general terms of the divorce. An uncontested divorce is much simpler, quicker, and therefore cheaper than a contested divorce, which can drag on for months or even years in complex cases.
If you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse are generally on good terms, attempt to come to an agreement over how your assets and debts will be split after your divorce. Sitting down over coffee or simply emailing each other in a cool-headed, unemotional manner in order to hammer out details can help keep things amicable and therefore less expensive.
Hire an Experienced Family Law Attorney
It can be tempting to file divorce on your own, especially if your divorce is uncontested. This might seem like a great way to save money on attorney fees, but the truth is it can cost much more in the long run. An experienced lawyer knows the ins and outs of divorce paperwork and how to properly file the paperwork with the courts in a quick and efficient way.
Filing on your own involves a steep learning curve and too much opportunity for error. Errors in your divorce filing can result in the judge dismissing your divorce case, forcing you to start over from scratch and pay the filing fees multiple times. The amount of time involved and having to show up yourself to file in person can also result in missed work and lost wages. In the long-run, hiring a family law attorney saves you time, stress and money.
Report Income and Assets Honestly
While you may worry that reporting your full income and assets will lead to a judge deciding that you owe spousal support, honesty is definitely the best option when it comes to legal proceedings like a divorce. Misleading information can easily be discovered by your spouse and their attorney, leading to major fines and penalties down the road.
Reconsider a Drastic Relocation
One of the hidden costs of divorce is relocation. While you may be tempted to get as far away as possible from your spouse, try to hold off for now. Staying in the same city or state is a less expensive move than relocating out of state, since you won't have to move your belongings as far. In addition, relocating out of state means finding a new job, which may lead to weeks or months without income. If you have kids, an out-of-state relocation will make visitation much more complicated and expensive as well.
Close All Joint Accounts
You are on the hook for any joint credit cards, loans, or other accounts you share with your spouse. If you know you are going to file a divorce it's best to close these accounts as soon as possible and replace them with separate accounts. This can help protect you financially, since if you continue to share accounts there is no way to guarantee that your ex won't rack up excessive debt, make late payments, or otherwise behave in a financially irresponsible manner that you will then need to pay for.
By following these tips, your divorce will hopefully cost less money overall while also being easier to navigate. If you are looking for an attorney to represent your case, then consider one from a firm like family and matrimonial law Lonsdale LawShare