You and your spouse are about to go through a divorce, but you don’t want to wreck the shared/separate household finances in the process. Divorce lawyers are expensive, and divorce litigation is even more costly. For many ex-couples, you’d much rather have that money for moving apart and possibly raising your kids instead. Here’s how to save money on your divorce with a few quick, clever decisions:
Step 1) Agree to Be Agreeable
Divorces only have to be expensive if you want to fight in court about every little thing. Fighting over one big thing, like custody, can also wrack up the legal bills. The key to saving money is to agree to be agreeable. The more you can work together and agree on terms, the less lawyer time and legal fees you will have to pay for — together and separately.
Talk to your spouse about saving money on the divorce, and how much you can save if you agree on things instead of fighting over them. A great way to do this is to divide up everything either person cares about, then compare the lists like a Venn diagram. Chances are, there will be a lot of things that are easy to separate and only a few things you will actually need to discuss and compromise on.
Step 2) Physically Separate Households
The next step is to separate your households physically. Start by moving to opposite sides of the house, if that works for you. Or have one or both spouses move to their own new apartment. Separating will help you practice living apart. It will also highlight any real concerns in splitting your households legally and financially. It may also help accelerate your divorce depending on your state.
Step 3) Claim Your Keepsakes
Once you’ve started separating your households, take some time to think about the items you care about most. Couples usually have both separate and shared keepsakes. Your ex probably doesn’t care about your old yearbooks, photos, and family heirlooms but will want their own keepsakes kept safe in the separation. You might be surprised how much divorce fighting with lawyers happens over holding these personally precious items hostage.
So to save time and money, you can circumvent this strife simply by separating your personally valued items ahead of time. Again, make two separate lists and compare them to see what falls in the middle. For anything that you both care about, discuss who should keep the items and be prepared to compromise or even sell items that are of more monetary than sentimental value.
Step 4) Discuss Practical Terms Ahead of Time
Next, both of you should do separate research on common divorce terms and then come together to discuss what you think will be the most practical. Without the help of a lawyer, at first. Most divorce lawyers get a great deal of their ‘billed hours’ from consulting with divorcees on the terms they’d like to agree on, even for amicable divorces where the couple agrees on everything.
You can skip much of the consultation expense by doing your own research and coming to an independent agreement with your soon-to-be ex. Some terms to consider are:
- Flexible Child Custody Terms
- House and Car Ownership or Sale
- Separating Retirement Funds
- Investments or Owned Businesses
- Spousal Support if Needed
Step 5) Work With Divorce Lawyers who Shares Your Values
Finally, you’re ready to seek and select your respective divorce lawyers. When looking for an affordable and agreeable divorce, most people expect their divorce lawyers to ‘churn the water’ and look for terms to conflict about. However, not all divorce lawyers are like this. The key to saving time and money is for both spouses to find respective divorce lawyers that share their values and agree on how to finalize the divorce quickly.
Your lawyers will ideally help you finish covering all your bases, finalize the terms, and then file the paperwork for you so that your divorce can be complete. No need for additional conflict or even time in the courtroom when you, your ex, and your lawyers are all on the same page.
Getting a divorce doesn’t have to drain your savings or put you deep into debt. With the right planning and financial choices, you can minimize the necessary legal fees and lawyer time it takes to draw up and finalize a fair divorce agreement. For more helpful insights into achieving the best divorce possible, contact us today!