How smart planning can keep your divorce costs reasonable: Part II
Let’s continue the discussion about controlling the costs of divorce. While many people bemoan how expensive divorce can be, it is important to note that it doesn’t have to be this way. There are several things you can do to keep your divorce costs reasonable.
In today’s post, we’ll discuss two cost-saving measures: Avoiding unnecessary delays and keeping your emotions in check to prevent mutually destructive spending.
Finding the right pace during divorce:
Regardless of the divorce approach you choose, please remember that time is money. This is not to say that you should rush through the process as quickly as possible, because that can result in costly mistakes or an unfair settlement.
Instead, it’s important to pick your battles and choose what’s worth fighting for and what is not. As just one example, couples in mediation sessions will sometimes spend hours trying to negotiate who gets to keep a contested piece of property. If that item or set of items has a value greater than the cost of those few hours in attorneys’ and mediators’ fees, the time and money spent may have been worth it. But if the property being contested is replaceable and worth less than $1,000 or so, you may want to try to work out some type of resolution, even if it is not what you really want.
Preventing mutually destructive spending:
Divorce is almost always emotionally draining. But to keep your divorce costs reasonable, it is necessary to deal with your grief, anger and sadness in such a way that it does not cause you to make rash decisions about money.
Once again, this comes down to picking your battles. If you are angry and hurt about the way that the relationship ended, you might be tempted to get back at your spouse by going to court over every disputed piece of property. Or you may want to prolong the divorce proceedings just to increase your spouse’s legal bills, even if it means incurring more costs yourself.
Conversely, if your spouse is being uncooperative, you might want to get your attorney involved in every dispute. A strongly worded letter from your attorney may be effective at getting your spouse to back down on a given issue, but it will also increase your overall costs. As a general rule, try to limit attorney involvement to only those matters that are most important to you.
Divorce can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to break the bank. After investing in an experienced attorney, you can limit your overall costs by following the aforementioned tips.
Source: The Wall Street Journal, “The Biggest Financial Mistakes Divorcing Couples Make,” April 24, 2014