You probably haven’t thought about how much a divorce costs until your own marriage came to its end. On top of the emotional drainage, you might also come on the verge of financial collapse. Dividing assets, debts, and income that you’ve been sharing for years is a demanding feat.
Feeling uncertain about the future is the worst outcome of any divorce. Plus, you’re about to spend lots of money on your separation.
While the emotional stress isn’t something we can help you with, we can surely save you some cash. Follow our insider tips to learn how to avoid soaring divorce costs. After all, everything is possible with the right strategy!
Table of Contents
- 1 Tips To Save Cash During A Divorce
- 1.1 Selecting The Right Lawyer
- 1.2 Be Honest With Your Lawyer
- 1.3 Know Your Fee Agreement
- 1.4 Be Organized and Keep A Copy Of Everything
- 1.5 Consider Alternative Resolutions Instead Of A Trial
- 1.6 Complete A Financial Disclosure Statement
- 1.7 Close The “Joint” Bank and Credit Card Accounts
- 1.8 Assess Your Bills
- 1.9 Revise Your Will
- 1.10 Seek Counseling
- 1.11 Don’t Sell Your House Right Away
- 1.12 Try To Reach An Agreement On Personal Property Items
- 1.13 Hire An IFA
- 1.14 Don’t Move In With Your New Partner Until The Divorce Is Final
- 1.15 Take Advantage of Child Benefits and Tax Credits
- 1.16 Look After “Yourself”
- 2 Bottom Line
- 3 FAQs
Tips To Save Cash During A Divorce
Even though it sounds unlikely, it’s possible to deal with your separation smartly. Read our 16 tips and use the ones that make the most sense for your situation.
Selecting The Right Lawyer
In this process, your lawyer will become your best friend and coach. If your divorce cannot be settled amicably, seek a renowned professional to help you. Your best shot is to select an experienced lawyer in the field of separations or family practice. Such lawyers take constructive and non-confrontational approaches and alleviate both the stress and pain throughout the procedure. Sometimes, it’s smart to get a loan to afford a good lawyer. This can benefit you much more in the long run if you manage to win your case.
Apart from choosing the right lawyer, being organized is crucial, too. If you haven’t decided what you expect to gain in the process, your solicitor will benefit from the lack of organization. Have your thoughts, questions, and documents in order so that you are charged less in billable hours.
That’s why we’re here to equip you with tips to save cash during a divorce. In short, some couples don’t need a solicitor at all. They manage to resolve their disagreements on their own and decide who gets what in the process. This is the best-case scenario if you want to save thousands of dollars for legal fees. Processing the paperwork will cost you from $175 to $700 depending on income, residence address, and kids.
Be Honest With Your Lawyer
Honesty is the best policy! Particularly when it comes to communication with your lawyer. When you’re open right from the start, your representative can come up with an effective strategy and plan to deal with issues. Plus, there is no need for your lawyer to discover nasty things in front of the court. Give your representative useful and meaningful information and documents to prepare the case as needed.
Avoid hiding even petty information and assets from your lawyer because this can be a horrible and costly mistake. Never switch lawyers in the middle of a divorce procedure unless utterly necessary. The new solicitor will need time to revise the case, and this will only lighten your wallet.
We also suggest you use your lawyer wisely. Don’t let legal fees be the most significant investment during your divorce. The more things you do on your own, the less money you’ll spend. For example, avoid asking your lawyer to be your therapist or financial adviser. Just focus on essential legal issues and try to resolve the case as soon as possible by putting emotions aside. The lawyer should always be your means to an end and not the end of your means!
Know Your Fee Agreement
You don’t want to be devastated by the final bill, do you? Being familiar with what you’re charged about during the proceedings is essential if you want to keep up with legal expenses. Not only should you read the agreement, but you must also understand it. This means you’ll have to learn your fee agreement by heart.
A reasonable fee agreement must state each item you’ll be charged and at what rate. Some lawyers also charge clients for paralegal and legal assistance time. Others include travel, copying, and mailing costs in your bill. Shall this be the case, think twice about who you’re going to hire and how to keep such costs low. You can consider making a budget during this stressful time to ensure that your finances are in top shape.
Be Organized and Keep A Copy Of Everything
Any separation is accompanied by intense emotions, and this can blur your rational thinking. Put feelings aside from the very beginning when it comes down to locating marital, financial resources. Write down and save copies of all accounts and assets, whether joint or individual. Organize your insurance policies, mortgages, real estate purchases, and 401(k) statements in a file cabinet.
Moreover, you can keep legal fees minimal by reducing the amount of time your lawyer spends on the case. To do so, keep all necessary documents organized in a folder and come for sessions prepared. Lastly, have an accurate list of all marital assets and materials to make sure no property on your partner’s side is overlooked.
Consider Alternative Resolutions Instead Of A Trial
Trials are costly. Reaching any kind of agreement beyond the courtroom will get you out of the divorce on the positive side of the balance. To avoid soaring divorce costs, try to settle the divorce on your own. Focus on resolving significant concerns such as property, children, and support. If you’re comfortable with the division of assets and debts and arrangements for your kids, you’re halfway there.
Consider mediation to handle the divorce for less money if you can’t agree on specific terms. Such a DIY divorce when a couple of issues are standing on the path to a final settlement can be the best solution. Try reaching a consensus with the help of a divorce mediator who can assist you in putting an end to controversial issues.
Alternative resolutions are cheaper and take a more gracious approach. Plus, they guarantee privacy since proceedings are confidential. Of course, resolving divorces isn’t as resolving an argument about which kids eat free restaurants to visit. Still, it’s doable if you want to end things on friendly terms.
Complete A Financial Disclosure Statement
Paying your attorney for administrative work that you can do it yourself is out of the question. Knowing and keeping track of your finances will put you in the best position. So, always pay close attention to the first draft of the financial disclosure statement. Think about gathering all essential documents even before jumping off the cliff of marriage.
Supporting financial documents usually include bank and mortgage statements, credit card and retirement account balances, and tax returns. Imagine your savings provided that you handle and provide copies of these documents on your own. Otherwise, your attorney will have to gather the information through discovery and charge you thereof.
Close The “Joint” Bank and Credit Card Accounts
Scrutinize in great detail the joint accounts, if you have them. Sadly, cutting down divorce costs is also related to intensive investigation. This is because, on many occasions, soon-to-be ex-spouses have tried to pull money from joint accounts to a secret personal one. Not only will you get ripped off, but it will also be impossible to recover such cash.
A bad-behaving spouse can also accrue debt on joint credit cards if you’re not careful enough. The truth be told, unless you take precautions, you’ll be partly responsible for something you had no idea about.
The best approach is to reach an agreement with your spouse to freeze or close any shared accounts you might have. This includes credit cards, bank accounts, and credit lines. When this is not viable, try to resolve the matter yourself and possibly leave one shared account for costs related to kids. Don’t forget to remove your spouse’s name as an authorized user of your income and accounts.
As soon as you do this, you can get a card under your own name. There are excellent credit cards for bad credit or low income, if that’s something you may need.
Assess Your Bills
Trying to save money during a divorce is a grueling process that requires perseverance and diligence. In short, the more you understand about the process, the less you’ll pay. Keep track of legal bills as they come in to minimize costs for unnecessary services. Moreover, don’t lose sight of hours spent on your case because sometimes honest mistakes can cost you an arm and a leg.
Each month you get the bills, review them thoroughly. Make sure you understand every charged item of professional services you use. Never wait until the end of the divorce to clear up any uncertainties you have concerning the fees.
Otherwise, you might be wasting precious money without having the slightest idea. Expenses add up swiftly during a divorce, so it’s better to clear things up from the start.
Revise Your Will
Do you have any property under joint names? In case of death, joint and other assets you might have will pass to your partner. Unfortunately, even this might not be your will, such legal documents are authoritative and prevail over your inventions. Therefore, it’s essential to create a new will that outlines your preferred beneficiaries.
Change the data related to life policies, benefits, and pensions that involve your spouse, too. Always check this with a financial adviser because canceling policies and endowments might be expensive. Update your will and include any property on your side to make sure it goes in the right hands.
Being completely dumb about divorce rules is ok. That’s why seeking qualified advice even before filing is a must. Firstly, contact paralegals and legal assistants that tend to offer more decent rates than attorneys, and some also provide help for free. Refer to them about matters related to court dates, pleading copies, or the current status of your case. Not only will you save money, but you’ll also get quicker responses.
Furthermore, think about hiring professionals such as appraisers and accountants. Depending on your situation, they can evaluate private businesses and real estate, identify assets, and explain tax implications. Professional appraisers for your home and vehicles are inevitable if you can’t agree on a value. Finally, financial planners give an unbiased opinion about your money problems and help you find cost-effective solutions.
Don’t Sell Your House Right Away
Your marital home has long been a niche of love and comfort. Now, you’re forced to either sell it or move out. To make clear who gets what, we strongly suggest waiting for such a decision until the final divorce settlement. Once you know the official proceeds of the real estate, you can easily plan your upcoming single days.
In the process of the divorce, some couples decide that one person will stay in the house, whereas the other will move out. Moving out into a rented place can be a complicated issue if kids are also involved. You must be aware that nobody can force you out of the house before the divorce is settled. The provisions of the Home Rights protect you from being forcibly kicked out of your shared property.
Plus, renting out a house is often better than selling it, so don’t overlook this option. It can be a great way for both parties to receive income after the divorce is settled.
Try To Reach An Agreement On Personal Property Items
The issue of how to save money in a divorce is the most challenging to resolve. So, why don’t you split your furniture and household appliances upfront? Diving the tangible personal property on your own can spare you from incurring unreasonable expenses. Anyways, when it comes to dividing valuable assets or custody issues, it’s best to turn to an attorney to be on the safe side.
The best approach is to compile a list of items you wish to keep or assign to your spouse. If you manage to agree on who takes what and peacefully divide your property, you deserve a bow. If you can’t see eye to eye on the armchair that costs $300, consider the attorney fees to achieve the same.
Hire An IFA
When divorcing, financial stability must be your paramount concern. Do you still wonder why? An experienced financial adviser will navigate and resolve the tricky financial aspects of your separation in your favor. Independent financial advisers help clients better understand their expenses before and after the divorce.
Financial coaches will support you in getting a fair share, making budgeting, managing investments, and buying insurance. They also teach you how economic decisions made today may have an impact on your financial future. Choose professionals who offer free consultations and talk to several potential advisers to select the one that suits your needs.
Don’t Move In With Your New Partner Until The Divorce Is Final
To live with a new partner before the divorce is concluded is far from illegal. You commit no crime, and nobody should dare to tell you how to live. The question is whether this is a smart step to take. Since you have to resolve financial issues during the divorce, this might negatively affect new partners.
Cutting a long story short, the financial position of the new partner can be taken into account during discussions. If you set up a home with the new partner who owns a house, for instance, this will suggest your expenses are lower. This is because you’ll be sharing incurred costs with the new partner. Consequently, you might lose your home rights and also certain state benefits.
Take Advantage of Child Benefits and Tax Credits
Though they might not make an enormous financial difference, for some single parents, those can be invaluable. Remember that parents who get to take care of the kids will eventually be the recipients of the child benefit. The other parent is usually bound to provide financial maintenance until children turn 18.
Chances that kids end up with an unemployed parent are real, so in such cases, take into account child tax credits. Also, if you have a lower income, you can be eligible to apply for tax credits on separation. Newer laws provide both the custodial and non-custodial parents certain tax breaks if they meet the prescribed requirements. The tax credit can range from $600 to $1050 per qualifying child based on income.
Look After “Yourself”
Either nasty or smooth, going through the phases of a divorce is always traumatic. Even worse, it can be heartbreaking if you weren’t expecting such turmoil in your life. Most people fall into depression or suffer other illnesses during the entire breakup period.
To avoid health issues due to stress, take immense care of your physical, mental, and emotional health. Your wellbeing must be your top priority apart from saving as much money as viable in the procedure. If you can’t handle the situation yourself, don’t hesitate to seek help.
Friends and relatives are supposed to be the ones to give you immediate support. Accept it with open arms to get over the entire stress with someone by your side. In case you’re still finding it hard to cope with, look for a divorce support line. A good physiologist can be of great help, too.
We all watch movies in which partners settle divorces in no time and remain friends and caring parents for life. In reality, you’ll most likely undergo a complex procedure that will exhaust both your finances and emotions. Even smooth and friendly separations don’t come cheap.
To avoid soaring divorce costs, follow our expert tips. Also, make sure that your finances stay healthy in the future with our money advice! Subscribe to our ProMoneySavings newsletter and you won’t miss our money making and saving strategies ever again.
How can I keep the money in a divorce?
Saving money in a divorce is a top priority to get over it more easily, particularly if you anticipate a hostile procedure. We highly encourage you to close any joint credit cards you might have and open a personal one. To safeguard your valuables, find a safe place to store them or entrust them to a close friend or relative. Finally, make sure you identify your financial sources and keep an eye on mutual assets.
Can I spend all my money before divorce?
Inappropriate spending is strictly prohibited during a divorce. However, consider smart spending or investing before filing because nothing can stop you from acting so. Another option to consider is to give money away before even starting the process. Lastly, a high number of partners attempt to hide money during the divorce to circumvent splitting them. Yet, this is a considerable risk, and if you get caught, you’ll be charged for a crime and imposed a hefty penalty.
How many marriages end in divorce because of money?
Apart from infidelity and incompatibility, money is the most common reason for divorce. If you can’t manage money properly, it might become a top motive for disagreements and stress in your marriage. Various surveys have found that between 20 and 40% of divorced couples filed because of financial issues. Most fights occur due to bad spending habits, dishonesty related to money, and diving bills.
How does divorce affect you financially? To be honest, I haven’t heard of a divorce that wasn’t financially damaging. What is more, some couples leave the marriage with incurred debt and bad credit scores. Generally, women suffer worse financial consequences than men and fall into poverty, mostly because of losing their home and health insurance. Children are also negatively affected in terms of school, insurance coverage, and fewer opportunities. To avoid ending up in desperation, follow our suggestions that’ll help you save money during a divorce, and also before filing.