Did you know that the average divorce costs about $15,000? If you’re starting to consider divorce, or if you’re already separated, seeing this figure probably does nothing to soothe the hole you feel inside. There is good news, though — there are many ways to save money while going through divorce, and while this might not do anything for the emotional pain, having a few extra bucks can help you cope better.
Get the right lawyer, not the most expensive one
The most expensive lawyer isn’t always the best. Instead, do plenty of research before setting on the person who will guide you through divorce. Take experience and knowledge into account, but also pay attention to fees. Take advantage of free consultations, and listen to your gut feelings. Does this lawyer understand you? Will they represent your best interest, or just try to run up your bill? The best attorneys should actually help you save money.
Don’t make the attorney your go-between
Divorce attorneys are great for helping you understand the law and making sure that you go about the process of divorce correctly. However, they are not a courier for you to send petty messages to your ex with; nor are they a message in a bottle for working out arbitrary details, like who’s going to pick up your child from school tomorrow.
Vent to a therapist, not your lawyer
If your emotions are out of balance and you find yourself swinging from optimistic to sobbing mess, keep your lawyer out of it. Instead, make an appointment with a counselor or therapist with experience helping divorcees. They will be exponentially more helpful, and probably charge you less.
Don’t fight over the little things
Every minute you spend haggling over the TV or the bed frame is another number on your attorney’s fee. Divorce creates heightened emotions for everyone involved, which often brings out the worst in otherwise levelheaded people. Take a deep breath, let it go, and let them have the junk. It’s only stuff, anyway. Isn’t your freedom worth more?
Talk to the paralegals and legal assistants
Have a question about your case status? Not sure about an item on the paperwork? Don’t bother your attorney over the little stuff. Instead, contact one of the paralegals or legal assistants at their office. Not only does their time cost a lot less than a lawyer’s — you’re also much more likely to get a rapid response.
Don’t hide your assets
It’s tempted for those anticipating divorce to hide their assets before filing. But if what you’re hiding comes to light in the process (which it probably will), you’ll lose your credibility in court, which means the divorce is less likely to go your way. You’ll also probably face penalties, too.
It may be advisable to sell your life insurance policy before filing to help pay for the divorce proceedings and provide greater transparency into your finances. However this is only an option if the kids have already moved out.
Stay out of court
If at all possible, avoid letting your divorce go to trial, as this will drive your divorce costs through the roof. Consider using a settlement conference or hiring a mediator instead. Yes, this does mean more time face-to-face with your ex — who is most likely the last person you want to see on Earth right now — but the money you’ll save is worth gritting your teeth for.