Divorce can get expensive, especially when it’s litigated and draws out
in the courts for months, if not years on end. If you’re afraid
of having an expensive divorce, we have good news for you: There are ways
to drive down the costs of divorce, and often, these same tools help reduce
the stress and heartache involved. Here is some of our advice, free of charge.
Stay Out of Court
Agreeing to have a collaborative divorce is one great way to avoid a costly,
lengthy battle in divorce court. When a couple agrees to a collaborative
divorce, both spouses commit to working together until they reach a practical
resolution. They may even hire a financial expert, someone who they both
use as they have a collaborative divorce.
We advise against hiring Pitbull attorneys who come out with their “guns
blazing,” almost actively seeking a showdown that could have been
avoided. It’s always better to seek out a peaceful experience. If
you hire our firm, for example, and your ex doesn’t have their own
attorney yet, we can recommend someone. We want to see couples have successful
divorces, and when we have a good working relationship with another divorce
lawyer, it saves our clients and their spouses time and money –
Talk Freely...to a Professional
We understand how people tend to open up to their divorce attorneys. They
do the same thing with hairstylists and personal trainers. However, it’s
important to remember that divorce lawyers are not professional therapists,
and they’re usually more expensive. While a therapist’s hourly
fee can range between $120 and $250, a divorce lawyer could charge double
that amount, so it’s not financially savvy for people to talk about
their marital problems with their attorneys.
Of course, you’re going to bring it up. You’ll be inclined
to give a summary as to why your marriage ended, but you can retell your
breakup story without going into a long, drawn-out version of events.
You don’t want to victimize yourself.
You and your spouse are right to some extent and California’s community
property laws will have a say in how your assets are divided and
child custody will be addressed without any judgment on who was to blame for the breakdown
of the marriage. The courts will not be concerned with whose fault the
divorce was and why.
In our experience, therapy can complement a divorce proceeding. It can
actually help the process so it’s smoother. Often, what people have
been fighting about – child custody,
spousal support, the house – are not what the couple is actually upset about. The
deeper issue may involve infidelity, manipulation, or control during the
marriage, or fantasies of getting revenge for something the spouse did
during the marriage, such as have an affair.
Be an Open Book or You’ll Regret It
If you have even the smallest question that you’ll “get away”
with something, think twice. If you hide assets, it will likely be discovered
and you’ll suffer the consequences. If you hide assets, you face
very high penalties and you’ll be setting yourself for problems
in the future.
California couples can’t escape the law, even when it doesn’t
seem fair. If you’re complaining about the state’s spousal
support guidelines, you’ll have to take it up with lawmakers. The
same goes for child support. If you think you’ll be paying too much,
you don’t have much say in the matter. The law is what it is.
Take it Slow
Did the downfall of your marriage have to do with infidelity? Did you cheat
or did your spouse cheat? If someone cheated, emotions are probably very
raw. In cases involving adultery and strong emotions, it’s important
to take it slow and reflect on your situation before you make any poor
decisions that will affect your financial future.
If you’re hurting, don’t rush it. Take time during the discovery
process and take advantage of the court’s calendar. As smaller issues
arise, for example, over who keeps the family dog and who keeps the living
room furniture, resolve them promptly, and don’t let them get big
to the point where you’re standing before a judge so he or she can
issue a decision on the wedding china.
If you go into your divorce with a “just win” mentality, you’re
asking for problems. Such people are thinking short term and while they
may set themselves up for a quick victory, they usually lose in the long
run. What really matters most? It’s finding peace and healing. If
you manage your divorce well, you’ll come to understand that your
family isn’t ending, it’s merely entering into a second chapter.
If you have squabbled over personal property, understand it can be a drain
on your resources. If you foresee issues, focus your energy on the valuable
and irreplaceable items. Judges hate it when people argue over personal
property, so it’s not uncommon for them to assign low-value items
in a random fashion if the couple can’t come to terms.
As you go through your divorce, take the position of a thoughtful consumer
and ask yourself, “What is the cost-benefit in arguing over petty
things like reward points and club access?” Remember, legal fees
can add up quickly.
Be Careful About Technology
Be aware that social media posts, emails, photos, and text messages can
end up in court, so be very careful about leaving a digital footprint.
Anything you say or do on social media or in a written email or text can
come back to haunt you.
Consulting with an experienced divorce attorney can help manage the outcome
of your divorce. To get started,
contact our firm for a
free case evaluation.