Sometimes couples who would otherwise be ready for divorce hesitate because they fear the expense. While it is true that the process of divorce can create financial uncertainty, there are certain steps that couples can take to help ensure they save as much money as possible in the process.
Mediation Versus Litigation
First and foremost, divorce does not have to be a contentious courtroom battle. Resolving disputes at trial costs significant amounts of money.
- Mediation – Spouses work with a third-party mediator who serves in a neutral capacity. Finding common ground outside of the courtroom allows couples to communicate directly with each other instead of sitting back and letting attorneys speak for them. Mediation is also generally cheaper than the litigation process.
- Collaborative divorce – This is a similar process to mediation wherein both divorce lawyers negotiate a settlement and meet with spouses to secure a mutually beneficial pact.
Relying on someone else to take on the heavy lifting of divorce prep by poring through insurance policies, bank and credit card statements, titles, deeds, and an inventory of assets only increases the costs associated with divorce. Taking steps to organize financial documents goes beyond saving money: It gives divorcing spouses a clear picture of their finances as they prepare to divide money and property.
Finding Common Ground
While retirement funds require formal Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDRO) to split assets, many other assets can be divided between spouses without a formal agreement. Depending on the state of the relationship, couples can try to divide up property like furniture, electronics, and other possessions without having to draft a formal agreement.
Divorce is a legally complex and emotionally charged time, but you can take steps to reduce the financial impact. You can explore your options by working with an experienced family law attorney to discuss your particular situation.