Divorce is expensive. What are some ways to keep costs down and to help minimize your stress?
Choose the Right Course
Opting for arbitration, collaborative law or mediation will help to avoid the costs of a lengthy court battle. A lawyer can point you in the right direction but be sure you are on the same page in terms of the process.
In a collaborative divorce, both parties commit to creating a shared agreement. They may share a financial expert or a social worker in the process. This approach comes with an effective incentive and a penalty for failure. If you get stuck, the case restarts with new lawyers. It is a costly do-over, so be realistic upfront about whether you can truly work together.
Mediation is also an effective process. A neutral third party (the mediator) helps a couple work through issues and come to a resolution.
Hire the Right Lawyer
Beware of a lawyer who comes out guns blazing even when there isn’t a need for a showdown. Although it may sound crazy, if your soon to be ex already has a lawyer, consider asking that lawyer for a referral. Lawyers are committed to getting the best deal for their clients but a good working relationship with opposing counsel saves time and money.
Talk to Someone Else
Spend wisely and talk freely – to someone else.
Lawyers are too expensive to be your therapist. Consider getting a therapist or a divorce coach.
Therapy can help the legal process run more smoothly. Often the conflicts in divorce proceedings – money, children – are not the real issues. Anger, resentment or event fantasies of revenge often come into play.
Divorces have lives of their own. They get bad when the emotional levels of each party are at different boiling points. Slow the process and let time heal where possible. Resolving smaller issues as they arise can also help.
A client with a “just win” mentality often portends problems. Those people are thinking short-term and have set themselves up for obtaining a fast victory but are quite likely losing what truly matters long term: peace and healing. People who divorce well understand that their family isn’t ending it is simply entering a second act.
Look for Team Players
Make sure your lawyer doesn’t think they have all the answers and is well-connected. Life after divorce is going to be different and knowing what that looks like often requires additional people and resources.
We often suggest clients seek the help of financial planners, divorce coaches and other professionals who are knowledgeable about family law.
Stay Away From Court
There is unpredictability with Court. You never know what is going to happen and no one is ever completely satisfied with the results that come down in a courtroom. It’s crazy to put your life in the hands of someone who only has a snapshot of your story.
Forever and Beyond
In this next chapter, consider a sound marriage contract or cohabitation agreement as this is the best cost-saving measure and is an “insurance policy” to protect your net worth.