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How Costly Can Divorce Get?

Posted By Attorney Jim Cairns || 4-Jan-2013

One of the first questions which crosses an individual's mind when considering divorce is – How much is a divorce going to cost me? As with most decisions in life there is a way to be financially savvy about your choices and then there is the other option of indulging emotions. In this case indulging your emotions would mean a full out contested battle with your spouse.

Attorney fees should be one of the first areas you look at when putting together your divorce budget. What will your lawyer charge you for? Does your attorney offer a flat rate? Some additional items a divorce attorney may charge for are:

  1. phone calls;
  2. office visits;
  3. court fees;
  4. email messages; and
  5. changes in legal documents.

When creating your divorce budget consider some other legal documents you may want or need. Legal documents can include name change for women, marital settlement agreement and changes in your will.

If you and your spouse are not able to agree on custody over your children you may be significantly running up your divorce expenses. You can still have an uncontested divorce for the actual dissolution of the marriage and save money, but the custody battle over the kids can have some serious economic implications. Additional fees in a child custody battle can include calling in an expert witness, psychiatric evaluations and possibly being billed hourly by an attorney for the child custody battle.

Another area which may heavily impact your wallet is if you have built significant marital assets. You may find yourself having to hire a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst. This person can assist in properly appraising your assets and debts.

Other professionals may be brought in if you and your spouse cannot work things out. Some professional fees you may incur include:

  1. accountants;
  2. financial consultants;
  3. mental health professionals;
  4. real estate appraiser;
  5. divorce coach; and/or
  6. forensic accountant (helps find those hidden assets).

The bottom line is the more amicable you and your spouse can be about the divorce the more money you are going to save. If you can get an uncontested divorce versus a contested divorce you are already on your way to saving a significant amount of money. In addition, if you and your spouse can negotiate a marital settlement agreement you will save yourself money in lawyer fees and court costs.