Divorce is an expensive game to play. If you and your partner have decided you no longer want to be together than get ready for some bills. Estimates suggest that the average divorce now costs about $15,000. If you are smart and willing to do some work, it doesn’t have to cost this much. Read on to find out how.
The first thing to understand is your own marriage and how complicated it is. I am talking about assets and kids. If you have children and own a business together then the divorce is likely to require legal representation and cost you a pretty penny. If you have had no kids, are clear about what is yours and what belongs to your partner and simply do not want to be together anymore, you can look into a DIY divorce. It is worth having at least one consultation with a lawyer (often free) to understand everything but after that, it should be pretty straight forward. Get ready for lots of paperwork though.
If things are a little more complicated you will likely need legal help. This does not mean that you have to pay them to do all the simple stuff. Standing in a line for an hour will cost you $250 if they stand in it for you, or free if you choose to stand there. Try and do all the simple paperwork yourself to bring down the total bill.
Some offices now offer unbundled services which means they will only do some aspects of the divorce and you do the majority. This is a good way to save, but be careful as all unbundled services are not the same. The key here is to shop around and compare different services. This is good advice in general as there are many divorce attorneys out there and just because your neighbor said they had a great experience, it pays to do your homework. Visit as many as you can to get an understanding of their prices and approach. I had one friend who chose a cheap, mild-mannered divorce attorney when it came to the day in court her ex-husband had brought in an aggressive attorney who managed to get away with a lot of things. Remember this is usually not a friendly fight.
If you can settle things amicably that is always best. If the marriage didn’t end on good terms then go into the divorce proceedings with your guard on high as the person you fell in love with is often not the person on the other side of the table anymore. Work hard and you will save a lot.