Pretty much everyone who ever goes through divorce has the same question at the start of the process: How much will all of this cost?
Unfortunately for most, divorce will not come cheap. The total you will end up spending varies on a case-by-case basis, but when you factor in court and attorney fees, potential alimony and child support obligations, mediation sessions, litigation, and a number of other possible factors, the cost of your divorce can rapidly get out of hand.
While many of these aspects are out of your control, there are steps you can take to reduce the financial burden.
Everyone wants to get out of their divorce without breaking the bank, but there are many missteps guys take that end up costing them more.
One of the best ways to reduce litigation costs is to do an uncontested divorce.
In this type of case, you and your attorney work with the opposing party to negotiate the terms of a settlement agreement that resolves all issues in your case. This could include custody, visitation, spousal support, child support and property and debt issues.
If you can resolve all of these issues, then there is nothing for a judge to decide and your litigation fees will be significantly reduced.
Even if you can’t resolve 100% of the issues but manage to come to terms on a few of them, that will still reduce the overall cost of trial preparation.
Be honest with your attorney
Another way to reduce the cost of litigation is to be upfront with your attorney and forthcoming with information from the outset of your case.
You and your attorney need to be a team, and your attorney cannot adequately represent you unless he or she has all the relevant information in your case.
This means being honest with your attorney about assets, debts, and any other issues that could affect your case. If you keep something from your attorney, it’s eventually going to come out and potentially cost more in the long run.
Make good use of your attorney’s time
Because divorce is such a confusing process a lot of guys want to constantly pepper their attorney with texts and calls to get answers to all of their questions. While it is important to have a consistent line of communication with your lawyer, you also need to realize that every call and email will likely be billed against your retainer.
Try to save all your questions for a single email at the end of the day and make sure your question is important.
Your attorney is your partner through this process, but using them as a sounding board to complain about your ex is a quick way to rack up unnecessary costs.
Let your attorney draft the settlement agreement
It’s common for people going through divorce to try to cut down on costs by drafting their settlement agreement or divorce pleadings by themselves. This might seem like a good idea in the moment, but down the road it tends to do more harm than good.
Your attorney knows how the law works and can explain the legal issues in your case based on the facts of your situation. Using that information, your attorney can then prepare a settlement agreement or adequately prepare for court.
There are quite a few language traps that can be confusing to understand and lead you back to court for a modification.
Individuals who attempt to draft their own agreement often fail to understand all the consequences of signing a contract related to spousal support, alimony, child custody, or visitation.
In the future, that causes issues in their case that probably could have been resolved with an attorney at the start of the process.
Control your emotions
It might seem like overly simple advice, but taking a rational approach to each step of the divorce process is one of the most effective ways to reduce the final cost.
You’ve likely been hurt by your ex and there is that temptation to try to get back at them. However, letting your emotions dictate your decision-making process can cloud your judgment and lead to pointless costs.
Avoid fighting over the little things such as minor personal property items that really aren’t all that important in the long run. Don’t take a stand against your ex on an issue solely out of spite because that can create unhealthy friction that hurts your odds of a quick and efficient divorce.
Divorce or custody matters might seem like a daunting process, but your attorney can help you figure out a way to achieve your goals and reduce the overall cost of your litigation.