If you and your spouse have decided to divorce, it is important to understand that you wield a great deal of power when it comes to how expensive your divorce process will ultimately end up being. Much has been made in popular culture about how expensive divorce can be. It is true that some divorces are very expensive. There is also no question that dividing a household that has belonged to two people for more than a year or two into two distinct households is also an expensive endeavor. However, it is not a foregone conclusion that the legal side of your divorce needs to be expensive.
The Approach that Best Meets Your Needs
As an experienced divorce lawyer – including those who practice at AttorneyBernie.com – can confirm, the two greatest influences that will determine the expense of your divorce process are you and your spouse. If you both hope to keep costs low and you are willing to work together to resolve your differences, your divorce process does not need to cost very much, legally speaking.
How is this possible? If you and your spouse can come to an agreement about how your assets should be divided and, if applicable, how your child custody arrangements should be structured, you will not need to use the services of an attorney for very many hours. You will primarily need to work with an attorney to ensure that the terms of your divorce agreement are fair and that any paperwork required by the state is properly completed, submitted, and finalized.
Many couples discover that while they may not be in a position to draft the entirety of their divorce agreements on their own, they can reach a resolution about the issues that are keeping them from finalizing their plans without judicial intervention. Attorneys may lead negotiation sessions, may negotiate directly with the other spouse’s attorney, or can assist in negotiation sessions until a resolution has been reached. This approach costs more than the initial approach outlined above, but will likely not cost nearly as much as most contentious divorces do.
A contentious divorce process is one in which a judge is called upon to settle fundamental differences between spouses that cannot be resolved without a ruling from an independent party. The reason why contentious divorces tend to be the most expensive of all is that attorneys need to spend considerable billing hours preparing for court and arguing in court. Therefore, if you want to keep your divorce costs low, you can do your best to avoid pursuing a contentious divorce process.
With that said, you may have good reason to “dig your heels in” about a property division issue or a child custody matter. The risk of winning may be worth the cost of fighting with your spouse. Temporary costs now may save you money or stress later. Only you can know whether keeping your divorce costs low now is a more important priority than any others being affected by your divorce process.