“I would like to get a divorce, but I don’t think that I can afford it”. Many people feel this way and have these exact same thoughts. These thoughts and feelings are valid because, on average, the cost of a divorce is about $15,000 per person. And that cost gets even worse if you go to trial. Battles in court only raise the cost of your annulment.
If you would like to get divorced but are worried about the financial strain, you don’t need to worry. The good news is that you can end your marriage for a fraction of the cost. Divorce is expensive, but it doesn’t have to be if you follow a few simple rules and tips.
Here are 6 ways to save money on your divorce.
1. Don’t get divorced if you can work it out
This might sound like strange advice, but it’s true. Have you really tried everything to make your marriage work? Have you seen a couple’s therapist? The best way to save money is to not get a divorce in the first place. Work things out if you can. 90% of couples who were unhappy in their marriages, were happy that they stuck around and made their marriages work.
Sometimes a marriage can be saved. Marital counseling can really do wonders for your marriage, and if it doesn’t, then at least you know you did what you could to try to make it work.
2. Set realistic goals
You might think that you can get everything (the house, the cars, the business, the money in the bank, the kids) out of your divorce. Oftentimes though, this doesn’t happen. Be wise by making a list of what you would like from your divorce. Go through this list with your attorney and have a realistic chat with them about what you could get out of your divorce. They will help you to be more realistic with your expectations.
If your attorney promises you that you can have it all, then be careful. They might be looking to push you into a lengthy trial, which can cost thousands of dollars, that you might not even win at the end. Some attorneys want to take advantage of your situation so that they can make money from you. Be careful and choose an attorney who has your best interests at heart.
3. Get DIY divorce
A DIY divorce is a great way to save money. But to use this option, you must be an organized person. Having kids can make this a challenging option as well. However, if you and your spouse are on good terms and would just like a simple way to end your marriage, a DIY divorce can really work.
You can get your divorce papers off the internet from the local courthouse website or you can get your papers in-person at your local clerk’s office. All you need to do is fill out all the paperwork, collect your supporting documentation, and then file the paperwork at your local clerk’s office. If you have any questions, you can ask at the clerk’s office.
There will be a fee that you will need to pay to file your paperwork. The filing fee varies by state, so check with your state to find out the exact amount. If you choose, you could hire a lawyer to check your paperwork and make sure everything is in order and correct. You don’t want to file the incorrect documents or write something in a document that could affect you years from now.
4. Opt for an online divorce
If a DIY divorce doesn’t sound too appealing, why don’t you use an online divorce company? Online divorce has become an affordable and popular way for many couples to get an annulment. An online divorce service does it all for you. You simply need to fill out an online questionnaire, which can be done from the comfort of your own home. After completing the questionnaire, the company will send you your divorce papers within 24 hours. If you have any questions, you can ask customer service. They can provide you with great advice, and some companies even offer guidance from attorneys at an extra cost. Many online divorce services charge as little as $139 to start the proceedings. This is much cheaper than going the traditional route. In total, most online divorces cost up to $500. You can still get an online divorce even if you have children, so long as you and your spouse come to an agreement on visitation, custody, and maintenance. Online divorce is best suited for those who have an uncontested divorce.
5. Save money and see a mediator
Don’t go to trial if you can avoid it. If you are unable to settle disputes with your spouse on some issues, see a mediator. Mediation is much cheaper than going to court. Some court cases can cost up to $50,000 and take years to resolve. Whereas, mediation takes an average of 2 to 3 days, usually costing no more than $2,000 per day. It might seem like a lot, but it is still cheaper than taking your spouse to court. A mediator will help you and your spouse come to a divorce agreement that will work for both of you. Shop around for different mediators and compare prices. Some might be cheaper than others. Remember, every cent counts.
6. Try not to use a lawyer for the entire process
If you need to use a lawyer, try to only use one for parts of your divorce. Lawyers charge per hour, so the more you use a lawyer, the higher your costs will be. You may be able to collect and complete all of your paperwork and supporting documentation on your own. Then you’ll only need to use an attorney to look everything over before filing. If you do decide to hire an attorney, be sure to ask for an exact break down of their fees first. This will help prepare you for whatever they might charge and help you avoid surprise costs for things like phone calls or emails.
Have heart! Yes, divorce can be expensive, but if you follow the above tips you will definitely be able to save some money on your divorce.