3 Ways to Save Money During Your Divorce
Divorce is expensive. There is absolutely no way around it. Between the court fees, process servers, legal fees and paralegal/document costs, the average divorce costs $20,000. But there is hope. With proper planning and preparation, there are ways you can save money during your divorce. Follow these steps to rack up the savings, so you can start your new life in the best financial position.
1. Determine Your Objectives
Think about the issues that must be resolved in your case, including:
- Parental rights
- Property division
- Attorney fees
Then consider the range of outcomes that you can live with for each issue. Really consider your best and worst case scenarios and the happy medium you can live with. If you’re expecting to have everything exactly as you want it post-divorce, you are either not being realistic or are in a very rare situation. Instead, set yourself up for a win by asking, “Where can I be flexible and give my soon-to-be ex what he or she wants, and where will I stand firm?”
It’s important to have a clear picture of this before you start. It’s easy to get caught up in responding to the other party, but the process will be easier and less emotionally draining if you are clear on what you want. Plus, you’ll strengthen your case if you maintain as much consistency as possible in your family court document trail.
2. Gather Your Resources
Once you have a practical idea of the issues you will be addressing, you can begin gathering your resources. Gathering your resources refers to both financial and emotional resources.
Many people end up borrowing money from family, friends, retirement accounts or home equity to fund their divorce. Consider how much you are willing to spend to achieve your objectives, and do a cost benefit analysis associated with your best and worst case scenario. For instance, if you have hundreds of thousands of dollars at stake, you should be prepared to defend your position and make whatever short term arrangements you need to in order to protect your future. If you are your spouse have no children and are dividing debt, it isn’t worth it to hire a lawyer to duke it out.
Also gather your emotional support resources. One of the reasons people end up spending so much money is that they tend to use their lawyer as a friend or sounding board. While a certain amount of emotional understanding should be expected from your attorney, you should not go to your attorney for advise and support. They are not equipped to give you good counseling, and they are far too expensive in that role.
Maybe you don’t have friends or family to talk to, or you’d rather speak to a professional. Counseling doesn’t have to cost a fortune, for yourself or your children. There are free or inexpensive counseling resources in Phoenix, including:
Arizona Family Resource Counseling Center
10000 N 31st Ave A-105, Phoenix, AZ 85051
3. Know Your Options
You have options for not only whether or not you hire an attorney, but how you use the attorney or what resources you rely on to represent yourself. For an in-depth exploration of your options for legal counsel, read our blog Is Hiring a Family Law Attorney a Waste of Money?, which thoroughly covers the following topics:
Representing Yourself in Family Court – the DIY Approach
There are resources available to you if you plan to represent yourself, including Access Legal’s family law document creation software. Access Legal’s team has spent the time to build software that guides you step-by-step through completing your Arizona family court documents. Unlike some companies that try to saddle you with generic, multi-state legal documents, Access Legal’s docs are created by an Arizona family law attorney to comply with specific local laws. Register for a free account to browse nearly 50 available documents. There is no cost until you’re ready to purchase a document. Hint: 18 of the documents are free to create!
Hiring a Family Law Attorney
If you’re thinking of hiring an attorney to navigate your divorce or family court case, consider working with him or her on a limited scope basis. There are many steps in your divorce that you can complete on your own, including nearly 50 documents that you can easily create right here on Access Legal. Determine what you’re comfortable doing for yourself, and rely on your attorney to fill in the gaps. Not all family law attorneys will work on a limited scope basis, but you should be able to find several in Phoenix who will.