Keeping Your Divorce Costs Manageable
It isn’t surprising that spouses thinking about divorce cite “costs” as one of their primary concerns about the divorce process. In American popular culture, divorce is often portrayed as a profoundly costly endeavor. And, it cannot be denied that the financial implications of splitting one household into two can be daunting. However, it is important to understand that the legal costs associated with the divorce process do not necessarily need to be significant. This reality isn’t often spoken about in American culture generally, but, how costly the legal side of a divorce becomes is really up to both of the spouses involved.
What does this mean, practically speaking? As an experienced divorce lawyer – including those who practice at Robinson & Hadeed – can confirm, a significant portion of the population believes that getting divorce means going to court and having your asset division and child custody arrangements (if applicable) decided by a judge. In reality, it is only a minority of couples that are required to abide by a judge’s intervention in a case. Why? Couples generally have the power to set their own divorce terms, provided that they can agree on them.
Few divorce cases require a “traditional courtroom battle” unless the spouses involved cannot settle fundamental differences between them outside of a courtroom. Most couples choose to pursue mediation, attorney-led negotiation, or consultation approaches instead. These “non-contentious” approaches to divorce tend to be far less costly—from a legal fees standpoint—than contentious courtroom battles involving fundamental differences. Why? Every time your lawyer needs to prepare for a court appearance, it is going to cost you legal fees. If you and your attorney can navigate your divorce process in a non-contentious way, you’ll likely save a great deal of money.
With that said, a non-contentious divorce process isn’t the right move for everyone. It isn’t even the most cost-effective move for everyone. Sometimes, fighting for a particular approach to asset division or child custody is a fight worth having. This is one of the reasons why it is important to speak with a lawyer in a risk-free setting if you’re unsure of what approach to divorce is best for your situation. Sometimes, keeping your divorce costs manageable doesn’t mean settling for less than what you want and/or deserve. No two divorce cases are exactly alike. With that said, most of the time, keeping divorce costs as manageable as possible involves embracing a focused, non-contentious approach.