A divorce, especially a contested one which requires a trial to settle disputes, can be a very costly affair. It is also emotionally stressful and can end up draining both parties involved if care is not taken. The cause of fights and misunderstanding will not resolve the differences, and an attorney is more than happy to have you around for a long time, because it will mean more money for them. Luckily, there are several ways to navigate the divorce process to ensure that the costs are reduced.
If it has become too much of a challenge to continue with the marital relationship, then there are some practical ways to reduce the expenses as you work on your divorce. If done right, the money you save can help you to better manage your life after-divorce. Below are some of the ways that can improve your circumstances.
- Setting Realistic Goals
Even before you start on the divorce process, you need to have a clear plan on how the annulment will be a success. If you go through an attorney, prepare a list of what you need to be done beforehand. After going through the list, he or she will be able to advise you on expectations and provide you with any additional information that might be needed to avoid time wasted going back and forth with the court.
Ensure that you get a qualified lawyer. You don’t want a lawyer that promises you that you can have it all, pushing into a long draw out trial. A good lawyer will help you reduce fees, and find a middle ground to make your divorce work for you. At the same time, you need to take charge of what your attorney is doing and ensure that your interests are adequately represented. Otherwise, if you fail to keep track of what is happening, you may spend money on something that wasn’t necessary. Be bold in asking the attorney about the progress being made. By doing this, they will know that they are dealing with an informed person and will objectively represent you.
Also, interview several attorneys and choose one with whom you can communicate with ease. If you can be open with one another, it will take less time to disclose information and there is less chance that your case could get derailed in any way.
Rather than fighting in court, it is better to consider mediation. This is when a neutral third party comes in and helps you and your spouse to work out a compromise on any unresolved issues. A mediator can work at a negotiated cost, which is far below the court fees and attorney costs that would incur during a trial.
Mediation also helps to eradicate the risks and delays that are associated with litigation. It is important to note that mediators only step in to help you figure out the best way to facilitate a peaceful separation. The final decision still lies entirely on the parties involved.
If an agreement can be reached on all unresolved issues, such as child custody, alimony, child support, and any financial disputes, the couple will have the option to move forward without an attorney or just using an attorney to assist with the paperwork.
- Talk to a therapist
The main aim of a lawyer is to represent you in court, help you in processing and filing your divorce papers, and work for the best possible outcome. During the process, many feelings and emotions can erupt, but it is not your lawyer’s job to provide you with much-needed support. Keep in mind that lawyers usually charge by the hour, so time spent venting your feelings with your attorney will cost you a fortune and do little to calm your pain.
Use a qualified therapist to sort your emotions. It will save you money, and you will get professional advice on how to handle your feelings.
A therapist is an experienced person in matters of emotions and how to handle pain and depression. They are not privy to any details about your life, and so their main task is to give you the best advice possible. Do not overburden your lawyer with duties they know nothing about and can not possibly resolve effectively.
- Abstain from asking for information from the other party if you can get it by yourself
At times, as a result of disorganization, one party may need to ask for records from the other party. A lawyer would require money to demand information and documents. If you can get them by yourself, then do it. It is a simple way to save money. For instance, in the case of joint accounts, it would be cheaper to retrieve the documents by yourself than writing a demand letter to the other party to provide it.
- Disclose your Assets
Disclosure of the marital assets will help you benefit from the case. Any party who attempts to hide assets or keep any information related to assets privy will lose in the end. This is because if the court finds out that you are hiding any information, it will consider this as a deceptive act and rule negatively against you. In many cases, you can even be charged with a crime and/or heavily penalized, leading to huge expenses.
Therefore, it is essential to disclose your assets and allow the court to decide objectively on the settlement. You may even gain more than you expect.
When researching ways to reduce divorce costs, there is one crucial thing that you need to keep in mind. Self-responsibility. All these tips depend on you taking the initiative and carrying on responsibility. Keep in mind that if you show your ex that you are dependent on him or her, they will take advantage of you and bend the case in their favor.
Work on your weak points and keep your emotions in check when making decisions that will affect your future.
The moment you accept things the way they are, the easier it will be for you to overcome the challenges and go through the divorce process responsibly, saving yourself a considerable amount of money. And the money you save will help you get a fresh start to your new life.