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 – everybody wins.
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.