can you save money during divorce

How to Save Money on Divorce

Goldberg Jones Divorce 2 Comments

The average divorce in the United States costs thousands of dollars. Even relatively straightforward cases often come with a hefty price tag. Thinking about the financial side of ending your marriage can be daunting. Fortunately, in most cases, you can do things to save money on divorce.

You’ll likely still have to fork over a sizeable chunk of change. A lot depends on the nature of your case. The more complicated the divorce, the more it will likely cost. 

But depending on what you’re willing and able to do, there are often areas you can cut costs and strategies to decrease fees.

Related Reading: 5 Common Reasons for Divorce

Knowledge is Power

As the old adage goes: knowledge is power. This applies in many areas, including divorce.

Educate yourself on your rights and how your circumstances will affect your case. This is an essential first step in the divorce process.

Knowing how the unique details of your situation impact the process helps you prioritize and create a strategy. If you understand how things work, you can do some of the easier tasks yourself instead of paying a lawyer to explain every last element or handling things you can tackle on your own.

The less work you give to your attorney, the more money you save on divorce.

While this can help you save money on divorce, it’s important to work with your lawyer. It’s vital to fill out forms correctly and adhere to deadlines. While you want to cut costs, you also want to put yourself in the most favorable position.

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Organize

Organization often goes overlooked, but it’s an effective way to minimize costs and save money on divorce.

Gather all the relevant documents and arrange them in an accessible, logical way. 

Getting the important paperwork together cuts down the amount of work your attorney must do. Too often people show up with a box or folder full of documents. 

In most cases, some simple clerical work you can do on your own helps immensely. If your attorney spends a few hours organizing your mess, that’s time you get charged for. A bit of work on your end can save money.

Related ReadingHow Long Does Divorce Take?

Prepare

It’s important to organize. It’s also important to organize in advance.

Getting organized in the middle of divorce proves difficult for many people. Once the process gets going, you have motions to file and serve, paperwork to fill out, responses to make, and appearances to keep. There’s a lot going on and many things to keep straight. Not to mention the stress and emotion of it all.

In many cases, it turns into a juggling act and you find yourself playing catch up.

Though it may not alleviate all of this pressure, having your house in order can help. Preparing and organizing ahead of time gives you one less thing to worry about. 

If you’re bad at organizing, or don’t have the time or patience, you also have other options. Some people hire temporary assistants to handle the task. It may still cost you money, but paying $50 an hour, for example, is cheaper than the hundreds most lawyers charge.

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Prioritize

Going into the divorce with a clear set of priorities will help you pick your battles.

The more a couple fights, and the more contentious the divorce. The more contentious the divorce, the longer it takes. The longer it takes, the more money you spend.

We commonly see couples spend thousands of dollars fighting over relatively unimportant items. Money they didn’t have to spend.

In many of these cases, the cost to replace an item would be a fraction of the court costs or attorney fees.

If you truly want to save money on divorce, prioritize. Know what you want and what’s most important. Figure out what you’re willing to let go. 

Know where to spend your time, energy, and resources. Don’t fight over every last thing just to stick it to your ex. That’s petty, doesn’t do anyone any good, and costs money.

That said, don’t simply roll over to avoid spending money. If visitation is important or a certain item has a special significance, fight for it.

Divorce has a huge impact on your life moving forward. And once you have a divorce settlement in place, the details are difficult to change in the future. The best way to make sure you can live with a settlement is to make sure it’s right the first time.

This includes custody arrangements, the division of property, alimony, child support, and more.

It may seem expensive now. But if two years down the road you try to change a parenting plan or modify a child support order, that gets pricey.

Related Reading: How the Division of Property Works in Washington

Be Honest

If you are trying to save money during the divorce process, remember, honesty is the best policy.

It’s often costly to withhold information from your attorney or to be untruthful about your circumstances. If your divorce lawyer has all the facts, they can create the best strategy for meeting your goals.

If you lie or try to hide things, it can undermine their plan. Don’t force your divorce lawyer to change directions mid-stream. That will likely cost a significant amount.

Related Reading: A Tale of Three Houses

Not a Therapist

You hire a divorce lawyer for many reasons. To guide you through a complex, difficult time. To represent your best interests. To pursue the best possible outcome.

You don’t hire a divorce lawyer to be your therapist. That’s what therapists are for.

It’s easy to lean on your attorney for emotional support. This can be a draining, stressful time. A good divorce lawyer truly has your best interests in mind and at heart. 

But remember, they also charge you money.

If you unburden yourself to your lawyer, that’s time they’re not working on your case. It is, however, time you’ll be billed for.

Having emotional support in place is hugely important during a divorce. It’s not even that your lawyer doesn’t care, but that’s not their job. Instead, turn to family or friends.

If necessary, talk to an actual therapist or mental health professional.

Taking care of yourself throughout the process is vital. An experienced professional will generally much more effective, and usually much cheaper, than using your attorney for that purpose.

If you want to save money on divorce, basically, anything you can do to streamline the process and make things easier for your lawyer goes a long way toward that end.

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Comments 2

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      Author

      Hi Delsio! Thanks for reaching out. I passed your information along to our managing attorney, Ken Alan, and he should be in touch shortly to get more details and let you know what options you have.

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