Are you facing a divorce? It can be a draining experience, both emotionally and financially. You're probably facing a number of challenges right now, such as figuring out your living situation and trying to maintain some stability for your kids. You also may be wondering how you'll pay for the divorce itself. Legal advice can be costly, especially if your divorce is relatively complex. You also may have to hire experts like accountants, therapists, and realtors to handle certain aspects of your divorce.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to minimize the costs of the process. Below are three tips to help you keep expenses down so that you can come out of your divorce on solid financial footing.
1. Be honest and open with your attorney. Perhaps the greatest mistake you can make during a divorce is trying to hide information from the other party's legal team or your own lawyer. You may wish to conceal income or assets from your spouse. Or perhaps you have financial or business issues that you don't want to come to light. You may think that the best way to handle this is to hide those issues and facts.
Unfortunately, that usually adds to the complexity of the case and increases your costs. It's likely that all financial assets and issues will come to light in a divorce, even if you take steps to hide them. If you haven't communicated honestly with your own attorney about these issues, they'll have to do more work to represent your interest. Instead, communicate honestly with your attorney from the beginning about your concerns. Remember that they're on your side. They may be able to advise a more efficient and effective strategy to protect your interests.
2. Remember your attorney's role. It's easy to become attached to your attorney during the divorce process. At times, it may feel like they're the only person on your side. However, it's important to remember that they serve a specific function and that they're billing you for your time. Resist the urge to use them as a sounding board or a therapist.
Keep your conversations with them strictly focused on the issues at hand. Also, try to provide them with paperwork and documents that are as complete as possible. You don't want to pay your attorney a high hourly rate to fill out paperwork or do research that you could have done yourself. Respect their time and their job to keep your bills under control.
3. Share costs with your spouse. You can save a great deal of money by keeping your relationship with your spouse as civil as possible. In fact, if you and your spouse can agree on basic points of the divorce, you can avoid litigation and instead go to mediation, which can save you both thousands of dollars. Even if mediation isn't an option, you could share the cost for third-party experts.
For example, you could jointly hire an accountant to file your final tax returns or handle tax issues. You could share the costs for your child's therapy bills as they deal with the divorce. The more contentious your divorce, the higher the costs are likely to be.
Talk to your divorce lawyer about your needs and your budget. They can likely help you get through the divorce process without breaking the bank.