Money and how much does divorce really costs seems to be on everyone’s mind when divorcing.
Here are 10 ways to save money on your divorce that you might not have thought of…
1. You will want to have a clear understanding of what the professionals you hire are doing to help keep costs down.
For an attorney, here are questions you may want to ask:
Will he/she be sending itemized invoices on a monthly basis?
What is their best opinion for how your divorce will be completed – litigation, mediation, negotiation, collaborative divorce?
Ask you attorney what would be a realistic expectation of the differences in cost for the above options.
When will your soon to be ex’s attorney be contacted?
Has your attorney worked with the other attorney before?
Ask your attorney what you can do to be part of the team and get the documents he/she is requesting as organized as possible.
2. Limit your phone calls to your attorney. Even though it can be hard to tell the difference between legal issues and emotional issues, find a trained professional like a Certified Divorce Coach to help you work through the emotional struggles you may be experiencing.
Often times, if you can wait a day or so when you get upset, things will be clearer and you can think without the emotional overwhelm.
This will definitely cut down on the costs your attorney will be billing you.
3. Do not attempt to “hide” information from your attorney. It may be embarrassing to have to admit to certain things, but if your attorney has to hear it from your spouse’s attorney, it can be costly.
4. You have a right to question charges, but if you have an understanding at the beginning of the process of what you will be charged for (emails, phone calls, photocopies, administrative fees) it will be easier to know what the charges are for.
5. If at all possible, money can be saved by trying to talk with your spouse and work out some of the problems you’re experiencing. As hard as it may seem, just coming to the “kitchen table” and discussing some of the issues can be a good thing.
It may take some preparation (with your coach or another professional whom you both select, but it can be well worth the effort.
6. Get all the financial documents you can and do it ahead of time. Even if you’re not certain about going forward with divorce, having this information will be empowering for you.
I recommend that you get a binder with dividers and begin to organize these documents. Your attorney will tell you what documents are needed, but here are some ideas to help you get started.
Bank statements, credit card statements, last 3 years of your tax returns, mortgage statements, property deeds, loan statements, social security statements, pension statements, car title, life and health insurance policies.
7. When you’re upset about a text, email, or something your spouse said or did, take a breath and wait at least one day before calling your attorney.
Sometimes, the issue resolves itself. If you wait instead of reacting, you’ll be able to share what you decide you must share in a much clearer way. And with clarity, you’ll be in a better place emotionally to really hear what your attorney’s response is.
8. Even if you are not even sure you’re going to go forward with divorce,
it’s recommended that you go through your spouse’s financial statements, bank records and credit card statements with a “fine tooth comb.” If you already know some things are not “adding up” it’s your responsibility to have all of this information for your attorney to review.
9. Get reliable advice and accurate information. Everyone including family and friends will have their opinions.
There is so much information online as well, but it’s up to you to find out in your state what is accurate and applicable to you.
Ask your attorney for some good resources.
10. The biggest cost saver is to have a team of professionals helping you make the best decisions you possibly can.
Relying exclusively on an attorney to serve all of your needs is not only expensive, but unrealistic.
An attorney is trained to provide you with their legal expertise, but other professionals will support you in other areas including financial, taxes, real estate, and emotional health.
As a Certified Divorce Coach, I will help you with determining which professionals you may need as well as supporting you through the emotional overwhelm so you can make good decisions about your future lifestyle.