Ways of Keeping the Divorce Costs Low
The pain of going through a divorce could be etched in your mind and heart for the rest of your life, and you will wish you did some things differently. While crying over spilled milk is not helpful to you and your loved ones, there is something you can do to make the process less painful as your wounds heal: do all you can to cut down on the cost of the divorce. The process takes a significant amount of time and getting over the court and attorney fees, as well as child custody payments, and the costly emotional time will take a long time.
But, having seen what others go through, we have compiled a list of the things you could do to keep the cost of your divorce as low as possible while ensuring that you get the best out of the process. Keeping in mind that the average cost of a divorce proceeding, if uncontested is at least $25,000 with the process taking an average of 10 months, it is prudent to employ any measures that you deem appropriate to get the best possible deal.
To get a cheap divorce, ask yourself the following questions:
Do you really want a divorce?
Perhaps you are only going through a rough patch, and you need a little space to clear your heads, calm your emotions, and look at things from a different and calmed perspective. Because, unless you have reached the end and you have some unreconcilable difference, a legal separation won't do and if your attempts at therapy with one of the best marriage counselors, then there could be a slight chance that you can avoid divorce.
Wondering why anyone in their rights minds would ask you to try to 'work things out'? Well, there is a large number of couples who go through the painful divorce process, speak bitter words and hurt each other immensely yet, months or years later, they reconcile. So, if you both see a possibility of reconciliation or if you are unsure about whether your marriage is over or not, you should take some time to pore through every aspect of your marriage then decide whether the dissolution of marriage is the right thing to do or not.
Is an uncontested divorce proceeding for you?
The truth is, if you and your spouse agree on major issues like property division, child custody, child visitation, debt settlement, and alimony, then you should consider filing an uncontested divorce if your state offers it. In this case, the unfiling party agrees to the terms of the divorce as laid out by the other party and with or without a negotiation, both parties sign the agreement. Though the court ruling is not immediate, you will save a lot of time and a great deal of emotional suffering by filing an uncontested divorce proceeding.
Have you considered a pre-divorce settlement program?
If after assessing and reassessing your situation, and after asking all the tough questions you are still certain of the need for a divorce, you should look for pre-divorce programs. Using these programs, you file for a divorce and spend a fraction of the money spent on the actual divorce process.
Among other pre-divorce programs, pre-filling mediation is one of the most common and the cheapest option, by far. Through the mediation process, both parties agree to settle matters out of court making their financial agreements with the help of a mediator like a lawyer or an attorney.
Other programs tackle tougher cases like the ones dealing with child custody, visitation plans, holiday plans and other plans.
Can you get free legal consultations?
Most divorce attorneys charge from the first time you call or meet but, many others are willing to give you professional advice at no cost. Getting free consultation works best when you are certain that the pre-divorce mediation will not work. The downside of this is that you may end up doing all the paperwork although the process makes it possible for you to make the right decision early on.
There are forums where lawyers answer all the questions asked and so, you may want to look for them and attend or sign up if they are conducted online. This also comes in handy when you are looking for the best child support modification attorney after the divorce proceedings are heard and finalized.
Can you file a joint divorce petition?
This could be the toughest thing you have to do but instead of having lawyers from each side filing their petition for a divorce. The only catch is that you and your spouse should agree on everything in the divorce to file the petition. So, make sure that you are on agreeable terms on matters relating to child custody, visitation, alimony, the division of assets, holidays, and debts. The best part is that once you are in agreement, you can get the divorce petition papers online.
This is also called a collaborative divorce since both parties iron out all the areas of contention before filing the petition. In some states/ jurisdiction, collaborative divorce is mandatory before parties file their petitions. This will not be an easy thing to do at first, but it will be if you communicate positively.
Are you prepared?
Even if you are unable to make all the big decisions ahead of time, there are decisions which you could make ahead of time especially when you are of sound mind. Being prepared involves taking good care of your children by talking to them about what is happening and shielding them from emotional damage. You also need to protect your business, pay your taxes and take care of yourself. Though controversial, the best way for you to protect yourself is by preparing a prenuptial agreement.
Are you aware of the common processes and paperwork in divorces?
While every divorce is different because we all have different interests and histories, the processes have several similarities. Familiarity with the process saves time and money.
To go through a summary dissolution, you should be married for not more than 5 years, you shouldn't have kids, you shouldn't have any shared real property, and your marital property should be worth less than $35,000. Also, you must relinquish any claims to spousal support after the separation.
In the case of an annulment, the party filing the papers contends that your marriage was not legal hence invalid.
Other strategies include:
Sharing a divorce attorney
Not having kids, especially if you realize that things are taking a turn for the worst.