Written by Lidia Staron
Divorce is often a long, exhausting, and financially draining process. This article outlines the best strategies to save money during a divorce, and even afterwards.
How Much Does Traditional Divorce Cost?
The latest report shows that the average cost of divorce in the U.S. is $15,000 per person. This includes expenses like attorney’s fees, court fees, and costs associated with hiring experts like a tax adviser, a real estate appraiser, or a child custody evaluator.
You already have too much on your plate. These figures surely have made you feel worse.
Fortunately, there are several ways to ease the financial burden of divorce. Check these out:
1. Create a Personal Budget and Stick to It
Before anything else, keep in mind that in addition to the cost of divorce, you will also have to deal with your daily expenses - food, gas, utilities, rent or mortgage, etc. And if you’re the only one who’s currently taking care of your children, the higher your expenses are.
Check your income. Does it match your monthly expenses? Is it able to cover your divorce expenses at the same time? If yes, you’re good. Otherwise, you will have to create a budget that suits your current situation and stick to it. There might be times when the expenses will outweigh your cash flow. In such a case, it can be helpful to find ways to augment your income, such as getting personal loans for fair credit.
2. Work With Your Spouse
The easiest and least expensive way to settle a divorce is to work with your spouse. An uncontested divorce means that you and your spouse ultimately can reach your own agreement about financial and other divorce-related issues. It can save both of you time, money, and effort. You could even skip hiring an attorney and opt for an online divorce solution, which is a lot, lot cheaper and easier. No court hearings and you avoid the endless (and expensive) consultations with an attorney.
3. Consider Sharing Information and Cost with Your Spouse
If you are unable to work with your spouse for an uncontested divorce, you could at least try to remain civil and help each other out by exchanging documentation that shows the balance of your assets, such as your mortgage, loans, and retirement accounts. Playing hard ball with each other will not only cost you more time (and energy), it will also cost you more money. The more couples argue through their attorneys, the more expensive a contentious divorce becomes.
4. Prepare for Rough Patches
Even amicable splits have their ups and downs, so prepare for disagreements. Consider gathering the important paperwork before filing a divorce. Typically, courts in most states require both parties to a divorce proceeding to disclose what they earn, what they spend, how much money they have in the bank and what debts they have.
5. Work Together to Reduce Conflict
While it may not be possible to agree on everything, you and your spouse should at least try to compromise to reduce an expensive conflict. If you need to hire an expert, for example, see if your (soon to be former) spouse will split the bill with you. Try to work out issues between the two of you like what the custody calendar will look like if you share children, and how support is generally calculated in your state, instead of paying two lawyers (yours and your ex's) and having a judge make these decisions for you.
6. Track Your Expenses
As soon as you know that divorce is inevitable, start tracking your household income and expenses. This is crucial for the court in determining the division of property, assets, and debts between you and your spouse, and in awarding spousal or child support. Moreover, tracking your household expenses can also help you create a post-divorce budget.
7. Don’t Hire An Attorney
The more work your attorney does, the more you will have to pay them. There are many things you can do on your own, such as gathering information. For example, if you and your spouse have joint financial accounts and assets, you don’t need to ask your attorney to request copies of these documents from the other side, you can request them yourself. As stated earlier in this article, in most states it is required that both parties disclose financial information to one another. On It's Over Easy, the online divorce service, which is the only online divorce service that encourages spouses to work together, both parties can enter this information into their profiles and the information is formatted and filed directly with the courts, without the need for attorneys and at a fraction of the price.
Divorce can be an expensive undertaking, but by following these tips and suggestions, you can significantly cut down the cost.
About the Author
Lidia Staron has been working as a writer, editor and literary coach for 5 years. She contributes articles about the role of finance in the strategic-planning and decision-making process. Apart from financial topics, she writes on health, life, travel-related topics. Lidia provides insights on different topics to help those who need it. You can find professional insights in her writing.