How Much Does a Divorce Really Cost?By Moskowitz Law Group, LLC |
This is often one of the first questions that comes to mind when considering a divorce – how much will it really cost me? With many moving parts and legal requirements, when you are considering divorce, you may want to understand their options and the price tag attached.
While it can be helpful to investigate the experiences of others, it is essential to note that the ‘average divorce cost’ is a relative term. Each divorce is unique and may incur specific costs or fees that another divorce may not. Despite the variability within each and every divorce, we understand that knowing what you may be facing financially could help you weigh whether divorce is right for you.
Divorce With or Without a Lawyer
While this is one of the first places people try to save money in a divorce, heading into a divorce without an attorney may create significant challenges. By choosing to work with a lawyer for your divorce, you are paying for to ensure you do everything right from the beginning instead of having to deal with the consequences of mistakes down the road. Lawyer fees typically include communication fees such as phone calls and emails, court preparations, document preparation and review, as well as legal research.
As with most services, you can work with an attorney to pay for the things you want and omit the elements you wish to ignore. You could agree to pay for court preparation, but potentially write your own documents to save fees on that service.
Divorcing without an attorney could be a way to save money during your divorce but there is a significantly heightened risk of your partner taking advantage of the law and the outcome of the case not going your way. You can receive many divorce papers or informational packets from your state’s website or websites that specifically deal with divorce, but we always recommend consulting an experienced local divorce attorney to ensure that your rights are respected during the proceedings.
Divorce or Legal Separation
Some people wonder what the difference between divorce and legal separation would mean in their case. In terms of cost, divorce and legal separation are often very similar. Legal separation is a great tool for those who want to effectively depart from their marriage but personal or religious reasons do not allow divorce. Additionally, if you want to maintain certain marriage benefits such as your partner’s pension or social security, legal separation allows you to do so within its legal framework.
Key components such as assets, debts, and finances are separated, and child support or custody is also negotiated within legal separations. This is a great option for a couple that wants financial rules and boundaries while contemplating other serious life changes, such as divorce.
However, on paper, you are still married to your partner. This means you cannot marry anyone else and you must fill out government paperwork like you are still married to your partner. It could also create difficulties if you have a child with another person for your partner may have legal parental rights over that child regardless of biologic relation.
Divorce is likely the best way to gain full independence from your partner. If you are divorced, your marriage is formally ended. This means you can remarry and move your life forward as a single person. This is a great option for a person who does not see any financial benefit from a legal separation or already knows divorce is the right decision for them.
Contested or Uncontested Divorce
It is important to know the potential scope of the battle ahead of you if you chose to divorce. If there are going to be many issues or fights, or if you are going to have a quick and simple divorce, you need to set realistic expectations for the timeframe and cost of your divorce.
An uncontested divorce is typically the fastest and cheapest method of divorce. If you and your partner can agree or have a reasonable discussion, surrounding the split of assets, debts, and finances, then you may qualify for an uncontested divorce. Since there are no serious fights or disagreements, this divorce process typically moves quickly and could save you the legal fees or other divorce costs.
A contested divorce tends to take more time, money, and even emotional cost to finalize. This type of divorce is where either partner cannot reach an agreement on key issues in order to effectively terminate their marriage. This means that a couple may have to consult legal counsel, and usually go to court. If you and your partner can have truthful discussions about what you want, if you can compromise in certain aspects, and if you both can be respectful, the process of divorce may be able to move along and cost you both less in the long run.
Go to Trial or use Mediation or Collaborative Divorce
If cost is a significant variable in your divorce, you may want to discuss with your partner if you can settle outside of court, or if you must go to trial to settle key decisions.
While mediation may allow you to avoid litigation costs and the difficulties of court, you still must pay for the neutral third party in mediation or for an attorney within the collaborative process. However, this option can sometimes be quicker, less stressful, and often times cheaper than if you went through a trial.
A trial is a helpful tool if you and your partner cannot reach agreements within significant components of your divorce. You are able to present your case to a judge who can make decisions, compromise, or act in the best interests of either partner if there are disagreements.
Contact an Attorney Today
Divorce can be difficult but that does not mean you have to do it alone. With many moving parts and legal components that may be concerning, it may be beneficial for you to reach out to an attorney to discuss your worries or concerns. As with any relationship or service, an attorney could be flexible and help you reach your goals while respecting a budget you may have.
Whether you would like to schedule a consultation to understand how your specific situation may translate to divorce costs, or if you would like to begin the legal process to divorce your partner, our experienced lawyers could help. The compassionate attorneys at Moskowitz Law Group have years of experience dealing with divorces of all natures. We could help you understand the type of divorce that would work best for you and your situation while also acting as your knowledgeable legal representation throughout the divorce process you chose.