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Divorce planning is not something we ever think we will have to do until we have to do it. This is a time when emotions often run high and are compounded by the financial stress of a change in household income and asset redistribution which often includes marital property.
In addition to the emotional weight of the divorce, economic uncertainty can compound an already volatile environment. The costs of attorney’s fees and financial professionals who specialize in liquidating shared assets can also be significant.
The end of the relationship also brings with it the sobering realization that your standard of living will change. With that so must your spending habits. It’s crucial not to check out emotionally and let your attorney make decisions in isolation.
While she may be an expert in divorce matters, you are the one who will have to live with the attorney fees and financial consequences of her recommendations. As a result, you have to figure out the ways to save money during a divorce.
You do this by considering the ramifications of each decision you make and don’t make any without first receiving a thorough explanation. And in some cases, you might even qualify for a divorce with no money.
Let’s look at several ways to prevent a drain on your finances so you can learn how to save money during a divorce and potentially get a divorce with no money.
How To Save Money During A Divorce
Modify Your Spending Plan
The first step to save money on your divorce is to make adjustments to your monthly budget based on the expected change in household income. Plan for new and modified expenses that includes childcare, college tuition, retirement planning, and taxes.
A new spending plan should be prepared before implementation. Modifications can be made later, but you may need to explain these changes to other members of the household.
They must be prepared to adjust their spending habits as well.
Organization Is Key
Disorganization extends the time it takes to complete a task. Your attorney will benefit from your lack of organization because the longer it takes you to clarify what you need, the more she will charge you in billable hours.
For example, make a list of questions to ask your attorney before dialing her phone number. You will have more success in limiting the time spent chatting about various off subject topics.
If you have a general problem to discuss, the call is more likely to meander and even end leaving you with even more questions and no real direction. All you’ll have to show for it is a hefty bill.
If your attorney requests documents from you, then present them in an organized binder to save time. The longer the attorney takes to make sense of the documentation, the more it will cost you in billable hours.
Attorneys often let you know in advance which documents they will need for your case. Present them in labeled folders or binders by date.
This should reduce the time required to process your divorce and will save you money as well.
Know When Not To Contact Your Divorce Attorney
Contrary to what you might think, your attorney is not the first point of contact in all matters related to processing your divorce. Her office may have other staff who can assist you at cheaper rates, or for free, such as a legal assistant or paralegal.
They may be able to answer questions related to the status of your case, court dates or copies of any legal filings. Such details are usually outlined in an attorney fee agreement. Read it carefully and pay attention to position titles that can assist you with information that doesn’t require specialized legal advice.
Some attorneys will discourage the use of mediation in an effort to bring your case to court. This is because successful mediation costs less than litigation. Mediation also results in reduced financial hardship for both parties.
The use of a mediator may seem impossible given your current feelings but should be seriously considered if you want to save money during a divorce. A settlement conference, led by a qualified mediator, is there to help make the process less contentious.
Both parties can then pay an attorney to process the legal paperwork.
Seek Additional Professional Help
When you think about the steps to divorce, hiring an attorney is usually the first one that comes to mind. You may stop there and unintentionally have your attorney serve in other roles that she is not qualified for but will undoubtedly bill you for if you use her time.
Financial professionals can assist with property valuations and the tax implications of different types of settlement agreements. You don’t want your attorney spending her time and billing you for something that could cost less and be completed quickly.
While the last thing you want to do is spend more money during a divorce, hiring a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst may be worth the money. You can learn more by clicking here.
A divorce financial planner partners with you and your attorney to understand the implications of financial related decisions before, during and after a divorce.
Divorce planning is about more than who gets what in the divorce. Long-term needs like health and life insurance and the cost of living increases must be addressed before agreeing on a financial settlement.
Your attorney may offer to listen to you scream about your soon to be ex-spouse, but she is not your therapist even though she will charge you like she is.
Remember, your attorney’s time is not free. Save such discussions for a qualified counselor and let your attorney do the job you paid her to do.
Have Charges Explained
Regardless of which professional service you use, review your bills carefully. If you are unclear on a charge and fail to investigate the reason for the fee, you could be wasting money.
Review each statement upon receipt and ask questions immediately. In the beginning, you might be calling frequently until you learn the terminology used. But don’t be embarassed by not understanding.
The more you know and understand, the less money you will waste.
Minimize Costs for Unnecessary Disputes
Talk to your spouse about personal property distribution. If you can reach an agreement on all or most personal property, then you can both save money in attorney fees.
This may be tough, depending on where your relationship is, but if you both remember that the more you can accomplish on your own, the more money you will save.
The bottom line is to let your attorneys battle over the big things and you try to take care of the little things.
Low-Cost Legal Assistance
While a divorce and hiring an attorney will cost you money, there are options to getting a divorce with no money. How do you get a divorce with no money? The first step is qualifying for one. Free and low-cost assistance is available to qualified individuals and families. Here are a few to get you started.
- Legal Services Corporation: This non-profit organization can link you to local offices in your area that provide legal aid to low-income Americans.
- LawHelp.org: This organization can help you find free legal aid programs across the United States. It’s available to people with low and moderate income levels.
- StateSideLegal.org: Provides articles and resources for members of the military and their families.
Getting a divorce with no money isn’t an option for everyone, but if you qualify, it can make the process a lot less stressful than it otherwise would be. Just be certain you are clear about the steps to divorce when seeking a divorce with no money.
While the steps should be the same, you want to make sure there aren’t any additional wrinkles in the process.
Your financial rights vary by state but by using a few of the tips discussed here you now know how to save money during a divorce. We recommend that you become familiar with the basics before contracting with an attorney for services.
Utilize low-cost legal assistance programs to gain clarification in areas that are difficult to understand such as the steps to divorce in your state of residence. The best way to save money on your divorce is to enter the divorce planning process with as much knowledge as possible.