Even the “simplest” of divorces can equal a big hit to your wallet. It’s important to know what you’re facing in terms of finances when you face divorce.
A “Simple Divorce” Example
Jennifer Zoschak, partner at a family law firm, handled the divorce of a couple that had been married for over 20 years. The wife earned 40 percent less than the husband. Because of this Zoschak knew alimony (spousal support) would most likely be a portion of any divorce settlement.
It was assumed that the divorce would be fairly straight-forward. But a year later the husband was still against paying any form of alimony. The case had to go to trial. The judge ultimately granted permanent alimony. And at the end of it, this “simple divorce” wound up costing $300,000 in legal fees.
Couples Have Power to Keep Divorce Fees Low
It’s easy to blame lawyers and the law system for high fees. But it’s also important to remember that you have way more control than you think. “The cost of a divorce is entirely based on how reasonable, fair and honest the couple is with each other,” said Zoschak. “If they can communicate calmly, not lie about assets or income and not fight about inconsequential minor things, I can do a divorce for $1,500 and have it finalized in a matter of weeks.” Remain calm, be willing to negotiate, be prepared, and you too can have a lower costing divorce. Here’s how!
Keeping Your Legal Bills Low
There are a number of tips you can take to reign in your divorce before it spins out of financial control:
- Don’t fight over minor parenting issues. This means don’t argue over exact drop-off and pick-up times, days spent with you, etc… Be willing to negotiate and…
- Be flexible.
- Your lawyer is not your therapist. Attorneys work on an hourly rate. You’re paying them to handle issues related to property, finances, and your children. You’re not paying them to listen to your grievances.
- Be prepared. Going into your divorce you should have: detailed financial statement listing sources of income, assets, and living expenses. You should also have a credit report.
- Focus on the facts. If you stick to the facts and keep the emotions out of the way you will be able to get to the root of negotiations without spending time arguing.
Working with a Divorce Attorney
The most important thing to do if you are facing what could be a litigious divorce is work with a divorce attorney. And even more important is that you find a divorce attorney you feel comfortable with. A divorce attorney will be able to walk you through all aspects of a divorce including: alimony, marital property division, and child support.
Source: CNBC, Getting divorced without breaking the bank, February 9, 2015
33 S. Catalina Ave. Ste. 202
Pasadena, Ca. 91106