This is a collaborative post by Ellie Jo with tips on saving money on a divorce.
It’s not a situation that one wants to find one in, but often, the financial impact of going through the breakup of a marriage isn’t very widely talked about. Even if there’s no mention of suing for alimony or child support, most legal processes can be expensive. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t rely on legal help, but there may be ways to help keep things from devastating you financially as well as emotionally. If you fail to handle the divorce well, it could even potentially lead to bankruptcy.
How to Save Money on Your Divorce
Try to avoid a trial
If the disputes in a divorce cannot be settled amicably, then it will be inevitable that goes for a trial. Your legal advisors will try to help you settle the case outside of court, but they will need your help to do that too. Aim for a mediation, as shown at Equitable Mediation, rather than battling it out at courts. To do this, you need to think with your head rather than your heart, be open to compromise, and try to put aside any urges you might have to use the legal side of the divorce to hurt your soon-to-be ex-spouse. Aim for an ending that does the least harm to everyone involved.
Be careful who you take legal advice from
If you’re looking for legal help, then it pays to take the time and do your research. Look at the reviews of local attorneys like Debra Schoenberg, and look specifically for any testimonials on how they handled divorces. If it looks like they are able to successfully keep it from reaching court, that’s what you’re looking for. If you and your partner are working together amicably already and it looks like there should be no cause for concern, it may be in your interest to work with an associate at a law firm rather than a partner. However, this may be considered risky by some as an associate may not have the experience to handle your case effectively if it does get messy.
Use your attorney’s time well
If you have a question for your attorney, it’s better to ask it than to let it stew. However, most attorneys are paid based on the amount of time they spend with you. If that’s the case for you, then don’t waste their or your time when possible. For instance, if you have a question for them out of the blue, it may be better to send them an email rather than to phone them. Be sure to keep it clear and concise as well. If you do have to call your lawyer, then try to keep the conversation concise and on point as possible. Have as much information prepared in advance as possible.
Be organized with your finances
During a divorce, a lot of your time is going to be spent splitting assets. As such, you don’t want to waste a lot of the time during the process nitpicking over the worth of assets, accounts, debts, and so on. Getting your banking and financial records ready in advance will save time, which will save money, and if you have them organized and easy to pull up electronically, that’s even better. You can have your assets appraised to find out their true value, as well, but this can be costly when compared to the process of simply talking with your partner and agreeing mutually on what value they should be considered.
Collaborate and communicate
If you’re able to agree with your spouse on how to handle the divorce, it’s likely to cost each of you a lot less. It can be tough to be amicable during a divorce, but if you can agree on even simple things like what time to schedule negotiations and mediations, then it will benefit both of you. The more you can agree on aspects like alimony payments and length, child custody, visitations, child support and the like, the smoother and shorter the mediation or divorce will be. Naturally, you may not be able to agree on everything, and you shouldn’t be willing to compromise on absolutely everything, either. When your lawyer advises against a certain approach, you should consider listening to them.
If you’re going through a divorce, there’s likely no way to avoid spending some money. At the very least, you will need someone to represent you. However, hopefully, the tips above can stop it from leaving a financial impact that will take months or even years to heal completely.
Rachel is an Austin blogger, educator, mom, wife, young breast cancer survivor writing about health, saving money, and living a happy life in Austin, Texas.
Rachel has written for HuffPost and Hometalk and has been featured on KXAN, Studio 512, Fox 7 Austin, and CBS Austin.