Going through a divorce can leave both parties feeling frustrated and drained emotionally, financially, and physically. Once a divorce is finalized, it’s likely that the quality of life will improve for each spouse as they get used to a new normal. Adjustments may take time, but both individuals will begin to feel better as time goes on. Unfortunately, the cost of a divorce is an element that can be straining for most, and it’s not unusual to feel anxious about the array of expenses that are involved.
While there is no definite answer to how much will be spent on a divorce, it is important to learn about the various costs divorcing spouses are likely to incur. Even though costs can be unpredictable, it’s worthwhile to be familiar with the typical fees. There are also recommendations for how each spouse can lower the costs if fees exceed your anticipated budget. Read on to learn more about different financial considerations in a divorce.
Factors That Determine the Cost of a Divorce
#1. Attorney Fees
If hiring a divorce attorney is in the cards, both spouses are encouraged to set aside a budget for the associated costs. Attorneys fees are among the most costly expenses when going through a divorce. However, it also depends on the kind of lawyer that is hired to represent each party and the complexity of your case. Some attorneys charge higher hourly rates than others, which is why it is imperative to do due diligence in hiring a lawyer that is both within your budget and will effectively manage your case.
While it may be tempting to go for the cheapest option, it doesn’t always guarantee the best outcome. It’s vital that each spouse finds a competent and experienced lawyer who is familiar with the divorce process and can provide reliable representation. Hiring a less experienced or over-encumbered lawyer can affect the case outcome, which is why both parties are encouraged to do their due diligence before hiring a lawyer.
#2. Child Custody
Couples who disagree over child custody during a divorce typically spend more money than those who agree. Child custody is a commonly turbulent piece of divorce that heavily impacts the future of your familial relationships. In addition to the regular court processes, there are a number of outside professionals that can be hired during a custody battle, increasing the overall cost and time of the process.
#3. No Mutual Agreement
If divorcing spouses can’t reach a mutual agreement, it’s not unusual for the divorce to cost more. If there are disagreements on property division, child support, and a variety of other pertinent issues relevant to the divorce, it’s best that each spouse hires an experienced divorce attorney for court representation. When each side is represented by an attorney, the attorneys can sometimes help parties reach an agreement without the need for trial. In some cases, however, trial is inevitable. If a trial is necessary in your case, it is important to have a trained divorce lawyer to help you through the process.
#4. Marital Assets
Couples with more marital property will likely have a more complex divorce than others. Throughout a marriage, assets are accumulated and once the parties decide to divorce, the marital assets must be divided before the spouses part ways. This can be a challenging situation that often leads to disagreements between couples. A lawyer may need to seek outside input from a financial analyst depending on the various assets and issues involved in the case, which typically will increase the cost of a divorce.
How to Prepare Financially for a Divorce
Anticipate Divorce Expenses
Once it’s recognized that a divorce is necessary, it’s recommended for each spouse to begin tracking their income, expenses, and plan for the overall cost of divorce. Taking these steps early on will help mitigate unnecessary spending.
Keep All Financial Records
Document and properly store all financial records, because these records will be needed during the divorce. Below are a few vital records that each party should keep to adequately prepare for divorce proceedings:
- Investment account statements
- Recent pay stubs
- Saving account records
- Current retirement accounts
- Mortgages, auto loans, and any other loans
- Comprehensive list of assets and debts
- Income tax returns
- Monthly budget
It is best to gather this information early on because it can be daunting and time-consuming.
Avoid Making Big Financial Decisions
Once a divorce is in process, it is best to avoid making drastic decisions that can affect court proceedings. Even if there’s an urge to make the changes, it is sometimes necessary to wait until the divorce has been finalized. If you need to make a large financial change or purchase during the divorce process, speak with an attorney about the transaction beforehand.
If substantial financial changes are made by either spouse, it may affect the divorce proceeding since the changes were made while the couple was still married. The court will sort wills, retirement accounts, and other financial matters during the proceedings.
Divorce can be a challenging time for all parties involved, and having expert legal assistance can help streamline the process and ease stress and anxiety. While the cost of divorce can be expensive, reliable legal representation is vital so each spouse can begin building a new life once the divorce has been finalized. The legal team at M. Sue Wilson Law Offices has years of experience in family law and is prepared to help divorcing couples navigate the entire process effectively.
This article contains general legal information and does not provide legal advice. For legal advice, please contact M. Sue Wilson Law today.