A divorce can take an enormous financial toll on a couple. Splitting income, assets, and debts that have been shared marital property for years is a difficult feat and can leave one or both spouses feeling uncertain about the future. You’re dealing with financing two houses, getting separate vehicles, moving away, and perhaps finding a new job – not to mention the costs and fees that come with the divorce itself. One precaution you can take to safeguard your future is to start saving money now wherever you can. Here are five ideas to get you started:
Attorney’s fees can be considerable in a divorce case, especially in contested divorces that take a lot of time and energy to resolve. Many divorce attorneys charge by the hour. Keep your legal fees as low as possible by minimizing the amount of time your lawyer needs to spend on your case. While there are certain processes you can’t speed up, keeping all of your documents organized in a binder can cut out wasted time. Come to your attorney with organized folders containing your bank accounts, savings accounts, debts, assets, and other imperative information so your lawyer can draft your declarations faster and easier.
Use Your Lawyer Wisely
Again, attorney’s fees can be one of the greatest investments you make during your divorce. The more you can do without an attorney’s help, the better. For instance, don’t use your lawyer as a therapist to vent about your spouse or your situation. Seeing an actual therapist is often cheaper than talking to a lawyer. Email your lawyer to ask questions and voice your concerns instead of arranging to meet in person, whenever possible. The fewer hours you have to pay your attorney, the better for your wallet.
Compromise with Your Spouse
As difficult as it may be, working together with your spouse to create your own divorce settlement agreements can save a lot of time and money. If you can file an uncontested divorce and agree upon matters such as child custody and spousal support, you can avoid a lot of the court process by solving things during mediation. You can even avoid hiring a divorce lawyer altogether if you and your spouse can make important decisions yourself. If you have real problems that need working out, it’s worthwhile to pay for an attorney.
Avoid Switching Lawyers Mid-Divorce
Changing your lawyer partway through the divorce process is a quick way to spend more than you need to. Your new lawyer will have to spend time reviewing your case, checking documents, and trying to catch up – amounting to costs you wouldn’t have had if you’d stayed with the same legal representative. Try to stick with the same attorney throughout the process, unless switching is absolutely necessary.
Appraise Your Assets Professionally
Part of divorce in California is calculating your income, assets, and debts. Hire a professional to appraise your properties and assets, including business accounts, collectibles, artwork, and other valuable things. That way you can come to your attorney with the appraisal already done – probably saving you time and money and keeping your divorce on track.