Who decides how much a divorce costs? In large part, you and your spouse make that decision. Your actions, attitudes and approaches to the divorce process can have a significant effect on the financial cost. And the personal cost, but I’m not addressing that in this post.
Some costs are fixed and can’t be avoided. There are court costs associated with filing a divorce complaint and custody complaint (assuming you want or need a custody order). There are refinance costs if a house is being refinanced. But most costs associated with divorce come from legal fees and expert fees – so the more you and your spouse can do to control those costs, the better off you’ll be financially.
Since most of the costs associated with divorce come from legal and expert fees, you and your spouse can have a huge impact on the financial cost of a divorce! The more you battle to show who’s right and who’s wrong and try to prove your point, the more expensive it’s going to be. You’ll each be paying hourly rates to your attorneys to continue those arguments about who’s right and who’s wrong. You may also be paying fees to experts to argue against each other about how much your real estate, pensions, businesses or other assets are worth.
You and your spouse can agree to minimize the financial cost of your divorce by actively working together to resolve your disputes effectively and efficiently without paying your attorneys to continue your arguments. You can also agree to consult joint experts. You can agree on the process you’re going to use to resolve your divorce. It is generally less expensive to resolve a divorce using alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation or the collaborative process than it is to use litigation (the court system). However, even if you use litigation, you can take proactive steps to minimize the financial costs.
I make no apologies for my hourly rate because I believe it’s fair and reasonable for the work I do. I also encourage my clients to use my time wisely to avoid any unnecessary expense. If you want to discuss the financial cost of divorce or any other family-law related issue, please contact me.