There is little doubt that getting divorced is expensive. Even if you have a small fortune to spend on your divorce case, who wants to spend their money that way? Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to try to keep the costs down.
Don’t Spend to Much Time on the Small Stuff
Don’t spend to much time (and, as a result, money) trying to split the marital assets exactly 50/50. Some couples will spend hours at mediation with their lawyers arguing over dishes, linens, kitchen equipment, etc. Most often, your time is better spent discussing the major assets, such as financial accounts, real estate, and vehicles. Also, you should realize that very often the marital assets are not divided 50/50 because one party takes on more than 50% of the marital debt.
Don’t Over-Involve your Lawyer
I, like most Family Law attorneys, want to help my clients. However, there are only so many hours in each day and I have to charge for the time I spend on a client’s case. Every once-in-a-while a client will think that their spouse will be required to pay their attorney fees, so they feel free to call as often as they want with any question they can think of. As you might expect, this gets very expensive – very quickly. At a mediation, one of the last issues discussed is usually attorney fees. As a result, most people end up paying their own attorney fees. A better course of action would have been for the client to call as little as possible with only the most important questions. Of course, it’s hard to determine which are the “most important questions.”
Make a Budget
Do not overspend while involved in a divorce case. In general, this is not the time to take big vacations or make big purchases (homes or vehicles). Figure out what your living expenses will be after the divorce. Also estimate what your income will be, using a high estimate if you might be paying alimony or a low estimate if you may be receiving alimony. If you want to stay in the marital home, but cannot afford to do so after looking at your budget, talk to your spouse about selling the home.
Underlying each of these ideas is the idea that you need to be flexible – even at the start of your case. However, you should not be the only one who is flexible. To help you walk this fine line, be sure to speak with an experienced family law attorney.