The cost of divorce mainly depends on whether the spouses are able to communicate and resolve their problems jointly. If you want to save money during these proceedings, you should not blame your spouse. Don’t argue or respond to provocations. Here are the top 12 tips to help you save money during a divorce.
Top 12 Ways to Save Money During a Divorce
Divorce proceedings can be really pricey. Even if the end of your marriage is mutual and amiable, you still want to try and save as much money as possible. The following tips include all the main signs and features of a modern, civilized dissolution of marriage:
1) Be Aware and Focused
If you decided to hire an attorney to handle your divorce case, you should bear in mind that lawyers usually charge hourly fees. If your case is complicated, you should not try to save money by hiring a less experienced attorney. You can still save money, however, by limiting the amount of time spent communicating with your attorney.
To save time, be focused. You can do this by:
- Preparing all questions in advance and writing them down
- Organizing your papers
- Making copies of all important papers in advance
You should be able to quickly find any document the attorney asks you to provide. You should also be informed on the issues prior to discussing them with your attorney.
2) Paralegals and Legal Assistants
You can likely do without an attorney in most administrative issues during proceedings.
For example, if you want to:
- clarify some paperwork details or filing rules
- learn the court deadlines
- need a copy of a pleading
There is no need to pay for full legal advice. For such purposes, you may seek the help of legal assistants or paralegals. They typically bill at much cheaper rates and sometimes give advice for free.
By using a legal assistant or paralegal, you may:
- get a quick response
- sort out the main steps of the process
- learn more about the options available under your circumstances
You can do all of this while saving lots of money!
3) Free Legal Support
The US government provides special programs aimed to ensure that everyone can find the help they need. As part of this program, family lawyers consult clients for free in local family court on specific dates. You should check your court’s website to learn whether this option is available for you.
Another free legal support option is a “free consultation.” Some lawyers do not charge for the first meeting as a way to provide initial advice for advertising purposes. Admittedly, if you plan on having a contested divorce, this won’t save you a lot of money in the whole scheme things. On the other hand, if you are planning an uncontested divorce or are just trying to understand whether your case is going to be simple, a free legal consultation may be very helpful.
4) Unbundled Attorneys and Other Experts
Perhaps, you need a lawyer only to deal with a specific issue of your case. Consider what issues you can handle independently, and what legal matters seem more complicated to you. For the complicated parts of the process, you may hire a so-called unbundled attorney who will resolve the particular aspect of your divorce. You don’t have to pay to discuss clear and simple issues.
You may need to hire other professionals, besides a lawyer. For example, if you need to determine the value of a business, investments or retirement accounts, you should seek the help of:
- an accountant
- a financial expert, or
- an appraiser
You should have a clear vision of your process so that you can save time and money by hiring only the appropriate specialists.
5) Alternative Dispute Resolutions
The most obvious way to arrange a cheap divorce is to refuse a trial. Nowadays, various alternative dispute resolutions are in trend. And for good reason.
- uncontested divorce
- collaborative divorce
- divorce mediation
Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may choose an option that is the best for you during a divorce.
An uncontested divorce is the most straightforward way to terminate the marriage if the spouses are ready to negotiate about the terms of their case out-of-court. Since an uncontested divorce does not involve disputes or a trial, the length and cost of divorce are much less. The spouses need to complete their papers and submit them to the court along with the ready-made marital agreement. The judge considers whether the agreement is legal and just and issues a divorce based on the terms of this document.
Reaching an agreement with your spouse may be challenging. In that case, a mediation program can help. Mediators are skilled in facilitating difficult discussions to enable spouses to reach agreements on all aspects of their divorce. Resolving disputes in mediation can allow a divorce to move forward as an uncontested divorce keeping it far more affordable than litigation.
Related: Estate Planning After a Divorce
Some people find it challenging to take emotion out of the process. They perceive their lawyers as therapists and spend a lot of time on irrelevant dialogues. Do not make this mistake or you will spend more money on attorney fees than necessary! Your money will be spent more effectively if you consult a psychologist or therapist. If you really need a lawyer’s advice, confine yourself to legal matters only. Be practical and stay on point during your attorney appointments.
7) Do-It-Yourself Divorce
Maybe you can arrange a do-it-yourself divorce.
A DIY-divorce is a divorce without an attorney where the spouses represent themselves before the court, independently. They prepare all the agreements and documents without legal assistance. This option is entirely lawful. However, the law specialists caution that it may be an unreasonable option for more complicated divorce cases (with minor children, property division, joint business matters, etc).
If your case is simple enough, and you do not have any disagreements with your spouse about the division of property or debts, you may consider managing your divorce by yourself.
Simple cases do not require many legal forms or divorce papers. They can be easier to fill out on your own.
8) Online Divorce
On the subject of legal forms, if dealing with the paperwork depresses you, a helpful feature like online divorce is perfect for you. Companies like Online Divorce and similar services prepare and complete divorce forms based on data provided by the client.
So, you do not have to be troubled trying to:
- figure out what forms and documents you will need to complete for your particular case
- learn the filing regulations of your state and county
Online Divorce can get your documents prepared in as little as 2 days, and you can be confident that the court will approve them with no trouble. Though divorce over the internet currently only provides services for document preparation, it is still an inexpensive and effortless way to get your paperwork done.
9) Prepare the Settlement Agreement With Your Spouse
Almost every case involves a division of property and other items. If it is uncontested, you probably do not need to pay a lawyer to argue over your vinyl collection or Xbox. One idea to work out an agreement without using a lawyer is to make a list of things you want, and let your spouse make the same. Exchange these lists and try to reach an agreement. For some disputable items, consider their cost.
10) Keep Your Eye on the Ball
Divorce may turn out to be a long, drawn-out process with plenty of matters and details to resolve. To avoid any unjustified spending caused by the long hectic process, keep your eye on the ball. Analyze all your expenses, review the bills, and calculate savings regularly.
For example, take stock every week to ensure that you know what the money was spent on, that there are no billing mistakes, and so on. Taking regular inventory on spending can allow you to quickly respond if there is any problem or misunderstanding.
11) Serving Process for Free
After filing for divorce, the plaintiff must serve the defendant with copies of a divorce petition, summons, and other papers. The papers must be handed personally to the defendant, but the plaintiff does not have the right to do it by themselves. Private process servers charge about $60 for this delivery. Refusing this service is the simplest way to save a little money.
Most states allow any adult who does not participate in the case to deliver the papers to the defendant. This person must fill out an Affidavit of Service as proof that the delivery was received.
Some web divorce providers also offer the serving service as part of their packages.
12) Do Not Rush
The last tip is to think again.
- Are you really ready for divorce?
- Is your marriage over?
The cheapest divorce is a divorce that never happened.
Before you start calculating your expenses and preparing your divorce strategy, contact a relationship expert, therapist, or psychologist. People can surprise you. There have been cases where couples reconciled after several successful mediation sessions. So make sure you are not rushing into the decision of divorce.
Dissolution of marriage isn’t something to take lightly. It can be emotionally and financially draining. So, make sure you’re really ready to undergo the end and remember, good luck!
Do you think divorce is the right call for your situation?
AUTHOR LaTia Longuemire
My name is LaTia Longuemire. I enjoy writing, singing, and cooking in my spare time. My passion is helping others. At this stage in my lifetime, I'm primarily focused on my children. They are everything that keeps my world spinning.