One of the biggest concerns people have about divorce is the cost. Sometimes, divorce is relatively easy and painless, with both sides knowing what they want and being amenable to negotiating terms, and the total is on the lower end of the spectrum. Most divorces are worked out without the need for litigation, which is where the price of a divorce can quickly escalate.
Sometimes, unforeseen conflicts can extend negotiations, and even if a divorce doesn't need to be settled by a judge in a courtroom, it can still be costly.
There are a few simple steps that people can take to prevent some costs from mounting.
A big one to be mindful of is to not treat your lawyer as your therapist. Divorce is an emotionally tumultuous time, to be sure. Since your lawyer knows your story, and the ups and downs you're going through, it can be tempting to call just to vent your frustrations.
However, a therapist is much better equipped to help you with your feelings than a lawyer is, and a therapist usually has a less expensive hourly rate than a lawyer. It's best for your wallet to keep discussions with your lawyer to legal matters.
You may have questions about your case that could be better dealt with in email than over the phone. While sometimes a phone or even a face-to-face discussion is best, email's a useful communication tool in divorce. The time you invest in writing out questions and providing necessary detail, so it's easy and quick for your lawyer to read, can be worth it to you in the long run.
Another recommendation we make is to "do your homework" when it comes to financial matters. To determine asset allocation, we need to have documentation of shared and separately-held assets. If a client isn't able to gather financial documents, it's up to our office to do so. Those costs can accumulate in a hurry.
It's also possible that you and your spouse can opt for a more cost-conscious means of divorce, like a collaborative divorce or mediation. Preparing for litigation requires additional costs that don't come up in collaborative; for instance, a collaborative divorce only requires one financial neutral to oversee asset allocation, whereas in litigation, each side has its own financial expert, and any differences in their assessments can trigger additional, costly disputes.
At the Law Office of Lisa Vance, we don't want your divorce experience to be any more stressful than already is. Keeping costs down is a huge component of that, and these few simple ideas go a long way toward that.