For all that trying to save a marriage might be worth it, there are cases when this is impossible. And if that happens, you need to find a way to make this separation the least stressful. There is no avoiding some stress, even if you part amicably. But there are a few factors that you can influence to make this whole ordeal easier. One of them has to do with the cost of the divorce.
Money issues are the number one cause of divorces, but even if it’s not The Issue in your case, making this process as affordable as possible will definitely remove a major stressor. You can use several tactics to achieve this.
Apply for a summary dissolution (if you can)
If you are one of the lucky couples who meet the requirements of a “summary dissolution” in your state, go ahead. This is the cheapest and easiest way to end a legal marriage. The fees should be around $150-400.
In the majority of cases, the requirements for this streamlined divorce process include:
- Being married for less than five years
- No children
- Small estate that you have no issues over
Get an online divorce
If you can’t get your divorce streamlined or if you need a bit more help to work through all issues related to the division of assets, custody, etc., you can use the Internet to help you. The most important benefits of this process are affordability and efficiency. For example, filing for an online divorce in Florida can cost you around $750 depending on your exact situation. However, hiring a lawyer can cost you well over $12,000.
And if you have kids and live in states like California, New York, Massachusetts, or Texas, you will have to pay between $23,500 and $26,300. When filing for an online divorce, you will get help when you need to navigate the complicated legal processes involved, so you should be able to avoid hiring a lawyer completely. At the least, you will be able to minimize their involvement, thus reducing your expenses.
Hire a mediator
If you can’t settle the issues between you and involving a third party becomes a necessity, opt for a mediator instead of a lawyer. They will be able to help negotiate reasonable terms, but do this for the average fee of $500-3,000.
This is the cheaper way to go if you think litigation is unavoidable. However, you need to understand that mediators don’t have the legal power and prowess that lawyers do. Therefore, if your case is guaranteed to be complicated and must be settled in court, you should go straight for a lawyer.
In that situation, the only way to save money is to find a lawyer with the most reasonable fees. However, you need to understand that “cheap” isn’t necessarily “good”. And by hiring a cheap lawyer who has little experience and skill, you might end up losing a lot of assets during the settlement. Therefore, this won’t be the “cheapest” option in the end.
If you must hire a lawyer, judge them by experience and referrals. You need to invest your money wisely to make sure this stressful ordeal runs as smoothly as possible.
However, and your lawyer will say the same thing to you, never forget that it’s best to settle a divorce out of court. If you are hurting and emotional, consider getting separated and waiting while you work through this with a counselor. Making decisions that might affect the rest of your life while you are in extreme emotional distress is a mistake you can’t afford to make. Therefore, you shouldn’t approach a divorce settlement without a cool head and sound legal advice.
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