Costs of Divorce
Emotional and psychological pain can be constant during a divorce, but you can often be forced to set them on the backburner in place of dealing with legal fees and court costs. Many people think divorces are cut and dry situations in which the spouses involved can quickly divide their stuff and part ways, but that is definitely not the case.
Every divorce is different, down to the type of divorce and the lawyers involved. While some divorcing couples can settle their differences themselves through healthy communication and negotiation, most couples don't have the ability to do so. Feelings of frustration and anger push spouses to fight for property, custody, and legal fees. This approach will do nothing but raise the final cost of divorce. Keep reading to learn about the different ways a divorce can cost you money.
A Battle of Costs
Each spouse involved in a divorce is responsible to pay their own lawyer fees. However, a spouse has the right to request, through their lawyer, that the law fees be paid in full by the other spouse. For example, a woman who works at home to take care of the house can request that her husband, a full-time worker, pay the fees for both parties. Each situation is unique.
One of the most common ways for people to spend more than they should on a divorce is by picking a lawyer who acts "aggressive." Because divorce cases usually involve two people who don't want to look at each other let alone work on a divorce settlement, people try to take an "aggressive" approach to the divorce. Spouses go on the defensive and feel that, if they do not hire an aggressive attorney, they will have all their assets stolen and they will be left open for more attacks. This becomes a financial problem when you realize that divorce lawyers can cost you a small fortune; the problem escalates when logic kicks in an you realize a lawyer, much like a weapons dealer during war, will profit when your divorce becomes difficult, confusing, and drawn out.
In reality, hiring an aggressive attorney will only cost you more in the long run. By taking such an aggressive approach, you will be instigating further problems that will then cost you more money. One spouse might believe that negotiations are pointless and the only way to get anything out of the divorce is to hire someone who will go on the offensive. Although it is often true that divorcing spouses cannot agree on negotiations, it is not true that hiring a shark will solve those problems. In fact, lawyers who advertise themselves as "aggressive" or anything similar will commonly push the divorce proceedings to last as long as possible. Instead of helping you finalize your divorce quickly and with as few problems as possible, an aggressive divorce lawyer will profit from making your divorce long and drawn-out. The more complicated the divorce, the more time you will need to pay for a lawyer. A divorce involving two angry spouses who cannot communicate will usually lead to a frustrating divorce process that lasts years and costs thousands.
It is shocking how much cheaper a divorce can be when two divorcing spouses communicate clearly, negotiate fairly, and avoid angry behavior. If both parties realize that everyone will win with a quick and simple divorce, negotiations can be made outside of court and the money you save on lawyer and court fees will be astounding. Obviously, many divorcing couples find this difficult because of their current situation. Anger and frustration has brought you to this point, so communication will be difficult. Again, keep in mind that the better you communicate and negotiate with your spouse, the less money you will have to pay in the long run. Remember this simple statement: the more you agree, the less you will spend.
Hiring an attorney is often not a must, but the complicated paperwork and detailed state laws sometimes make it necessary. If you do find yourself in need of a lawyer, don't settle for an inexperienced one because of their low price. On the contrary, investing money in an experienced attorney that will truly fight for your rights can seriously save you time, money, and frustration in the long run.
As mentioned above, there are lawyers who will not mind allowing your divorce to go on forever. As long as they are billing hours and making profit, they do not care much about the time and money you are losing. With that in mind, it makes sense to find yourself a high-quality attorney that will heed your requests and defend you the way you wish to be defended. They will be professional, listen to your problems, and help you finish your divorce as quickly and as cheaply as possible.
It is advised to negotiate attorney fees at the beginning of the process. Otherwise, you run the risk of allowing the attorney to charge you extra fees you were unaware of. While the costs of a high-quality, experienced divorce attorney can be high, again, it will save you time and money in the long run. Most importantly, it will allow you to finish your divorce quickly and to move on with your life.
Custody Battle Costs
If you and your spouse cannot negotiate a fair settlement for the custody of the children, a custody battle will ensue, as well as extra costs to you. As mentioned above, you will spend much less money if you and your spouse can communicate properly, negotiate, and come up with a solution yourselves. If not, you will incur further expenses.
A complicated and frustrating custody battle will have many financial repercussions. First of all, your lawyer will need to spend extended periods of time working on the case and will bill you for those hours. Furthermore, certain child custody cases require expert witnesses, which will be paid for from your pocket. The situation might end up requiring an Ad Litem Guardian for the children that will also cost you more money. Some cases may eventually request a psychological evaluation that will also bring you more costs.
Many divorcing parents do not think twice about fighting over their kids simply because they care more about them than anything else in their lives. Drawn out custody battles, however, will cost both parents a lot of money and will only make things harder on the children. If parents can learn to communicate respectfully for just long enough to negotiate, they would spend a lot less time and money in divorce court.
Another cause of high divorce costs is when a divorcing couple owns a very large amount of assets that need to be distributed. While some couples choose to mostly save their money, others choose to spend it freely. Some couples, particularly the wealthy ones, can collect thousands of items throughout their relationship that will need to be split up in their divorce. When a divorcing couple has an excessive amount of assets, a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst is often called. This way, the situation can be analyzed by a professional and the assets can be divided as deemed fair. The analyst will cost you even more money.
Mediation or Divorce Lawyer?
You will save a ton of money if you are able to work things out with your spouse using only a mediator. Essentially, a mediator will be present while you and your spouse figure out each different aspect of the divorce. The mediator provides information, offers informative questions to lead you through the process, and will help you stay on track throughout the negotiation. With a mediator present, the negotiation process within a divorce becomes more professional than if you and your spouse were speaking one your own. Emotions can run wild and arguments can arise, plus you probably don't know about every aspect of divorce. A mediator is a way for two divorcing spouses who are amicable to conclude their divorce in a cheap and simple manner. Although you must pay the mediator, it will save you money in the long run.
Cost of your New Life
It is easy to forget about the costs of your future when constantly needing to deal with your past. The costs of a divorce can be very high, a constant distraction in itself. Beyond this, the emotional pain and stress from the separation adds yet another distraction. If you have children, the issues and complexities of a divorce can make you feel helpless.
As a newly single and independent person, you will need to begin learning how to live on your own again. You will no longer have a partner to share the bills with. Furthermore, you will have your own individual rent payment, your own bills, and everything else that comes along with living independently. Creating lists will help make this transitional process more smoothly and less stressful. Keep your tasks, bills, etc. in order of importance. Whatever needs to be done first, put it on the top of the list. With your to-do list written out in this format, you will feel more in control of your life and what you need to do to get it going again.
Although an exact price for divorce costs is almost impossible to estimate, you can find a general idea of what different aspects will cost if you do some research and take a look at different lawyer fees. Take a bit of time to explore the internet and make an average of the different price estimates you come across.
The basic cost of a divorce lawyer to help you in your divorce will be between $75 and $400 per hour but can vary, obviously. If your lawyer does not charge by the hour but charges a flat cost, it can range anywhere from $10,000 to $25,000. In complicated cases, the cost of legal help can be as much as $20,000 to $50,000. Again, the more you and your spouse agree on, the less time and, therefore, money it will cost.
Extra costs also come into the picture and will raise the overall cost even more. For example, a court filing fee can run anywhere from $75 to $350. An arbitration fee, for another example, would cost between $200 and $400. The average cost of extra fees in a divorce case adds up to anywhere between $2000 and $7000.
There are alternative methods to get divorced at a more affordable price. Nowadays, you can even get your divorce over the internet. For around $30, total, you can utilize an internet based divorce source that essentially prepares the documents for you. If you and your spouse are in agreement for a majority of the divorce issues, an online divorce process might be an option for you. Although you won't get the personal service you will with a divorce lawyer or mediator, you will be able to end your marriage officially without breaking the banks of both you and your spouse.
The costs involved in a divorce are many and they are often easy to overlook until you actually have to pay them. Doing your own research before entering the divorce process can go a long way in saving you both time and money. Analyze your situation and figure out which divorce process will best suit you and your spouse.
Remember that the more you and your spouse can agree on, the more money you will save. By dragging out disputes and consistently involving lawyers, you will be raising the overall cost of the divorce, the amount of time you will spend on your divorce, and the amount of emotional pain it can cause and drag out.
The best way to get through a divorce is to communicate with your spouse. Attempt to create a positive, friendly atmosphere in which you both acknowledge divorce is the ideal, or only, solution, and that the best way to get on with your lives successfully is to help each other through the divorce. With this mindset, as opposed to an aggressive and competitive one, you both can save money in the long run. This, in turn, will help you get on with your lives and your individual happiness.
Costs of Divorce