According to research done by McKinley Irvin Family Law, one couple gets divorced every 36 seconds. That means there are almost 2,400 divorces a day in the USA. Getting a divorce is not affordable. With more people opting to divorce and end their marriage without considering reconciliation or couple’s counselling, almost 42% – 45% of Americans end their first marriage in divorce.
This is a surprisingly high number, even considering the cost to get a divorce. With almost 40% of the residents of the United States of America living on minimum wage, it is alarming how couples try to manage their expenses just so they could divorce. Living in an unhappy relationship is no walk in the park. It can take a toll on your mind and body. It can physically tire you, have adverse effects on your mental health and make you overall miserable.
Perhaps, this is the reason why more couples serve their spouses with divorce papers so that they can go their separate ways and live a better life, rather than live a loveless life. According to Forbes, a divorce can cost up to $100,000 if the couple is 50 years or older. This means people living on minimum wage cannot afford to get a divorce even if they don’t want to live with their spouse.
Cost of divorce is something that most couples don’t think about or even consider until they file for the divorce. If you are here, it means you are considering getting a divorce and you are concerned about its cost. You don’t have to pay an exorbitant amount of money to go your separate ways. Divorce can be affordable; you can reduce its cost and make it more manageable for you.
Here are 6 ways through which you can reduce the cost of the divorce and make it a little easier on your pocket, even if it isn’t easier on your heart.
Be Aware of Your Options
You need to be aware of your options. The divorce process can be long, tiring and expensive, so you need to see which divorce process is better for you. The best way to reduce the overall cost of your divorce is by trying to avoid a trial. While most attorneys you come across would want you to settle your case, you can take a different approach to that. You should opt for mediation, which will allow you to come to an agreement with your spouse with the help of a third-party. On average, the divorce by mediation will cost you somewhere between $5,000 to $15,000.
Look for A Lawyer in Your Budget
Lawyers can be expensive; it is a fact and most people would agree that getting a lawyer will be the most expensive thing you will do for yourself. While you would want to get the best lawyer fighting for you, you need to think about it again. An expensive lawyer can cost you as much as $400 per billable hour and that is a lot of money. Think about all the money you could be spending on something better, something good for your children or yourself.
Online Divorce Is an Option Now
Much like everything in our lives, we can also get a divorce over the internet. It is actually a good way to get divorced without an attorney and save some money at the same time. When you get divorced online, you will be doing everything yourself. You will get the help from a software program or a website that will help you with all the legal and financial jargon that your attorney would have helped you understand. The registration for the divorce will cost you $300 while the paperwork and court fee will cost you from $300 to $1,500. It means you will be able to save $1,800 if you get divorced over the internet.
Have Your Records Organized
Even though it is a little heartless, divorce is nothing but a financial transaction between you and your ex. You need to have your financial records organized so that your lawyer doesn’t have to spend too much time on it. Your lawyer will spend most of the time combing through your financial records and organizing your divorce papers for you. Simply gather all of your papers, scan them in your computer and send them over to your lawyer.
Don’t Phone Your Lawyer
Remember that you are paying your attorney for his or her time, so the time spent on the phone will also be considered billable hours. Be very judicious about talking over the phone and try to switch to email as much as possible. However, be clear and concise in your emails, because you will still be paying your attorney to read it and reply back to you.
Be Aware of Appraisals
When you file for divorce, you will be splitting everything valuable with your spouse. Everything will be appraised and every single appraisal will cost you. Appraisal fees can be too much sometimes, especially if you have too much stuff to divide between each other. It is always best if you can skip all the professional appraisers and try to come to a conclusion with your spouse on your own.
Remember Why You Hired Your Lawyer
You might want to vent all your emotions to your lawyers because they listen to you and respond to you. They make you feel better about yourself and give you hope for a better future. However, you should not use your lawyer as your therapist. Remember that every minute or hour you spend with your lawyer; they are going to bill you for it. There is nothing wrong with that, it is in their legal right to bill you for taking their time and you are entitled to pay them for it. Remember that going for a therapist is an inexpensive option, so make good decisions.
You should try to get to a consensus. Try to settle out of court because that is going to save both of you a lot of money that will be helpful in the future as you rebuild your life. Be more open to compromise because litigating the case is going to cost you a fortune that you might not be able to make back, especially if you are over 50 years of age.
However, that does not mean you should not fight for your rights. You need to be aware of your rights and never compromise on that. Don’t let your anger make the decisions for you as it is bound to make you lose more than you gain. Don’t be tempted, don’t be greedy, only fight for what is rightfully yours and hope for the best. You need to think of your future so saving up some money is essential. Find that balance and it will all come together in the end.