If you’re the one going through a divorce, your first instinct might be to turn to your divorce lawyer when questions come up. However, in this blog posting, Sheiresa Ngo writes about eight things your divorce lawyer might not be willing to tell you.
Some attorneys overbill by encouraging fights. Divorce is an emotional time. However, it’s important not to let your emotions rule your decisions. Do you want to fight with your soon-to-be ex about trivial matters, so your lawyer can drag things out and charge more money?
You can reduce costs by hiring a mediator.
You can save money by photocopying your own documents. You’ll be billed for the time the staff spends copying your paperwork. Instead of taking on these costs, do it yourself.
You can handle some parts of the divorce yourself. While you have to be careful, if your divorce is uncontested, this is an option you might want to consider. In an uncontested divorce, you and your soon-to-be ex agree on major terms of the divorce ... child support, child custody, spousal support, visitation, and property division.
In some cases, you might want to delay your divorce. If you were married for 10 years or more and you are age 62 or older, you’re eligible to receive a portion of your former spouse’s Social Security benefits (or disability benefits).
Contacting your lawyer can get expensive. Don’t forget you’re being charged for communicating with your lawyer. Even if it’s just a short email or quick phone call, it could make a big difference in your bill.
You may have to accept responsibility for the divorce. If you are involved in a fault-based divorce, things could get messy. A fault-based divorce is when one spouse engaged in behavior that gives legal justification for ending the marriage. Some examples include adultery, cruelty, a felony conviction, or desertion. If you are the spouse who engaged in one of these behaviors, this could negatively impact decisions such as child custody and property division.
Divorce is a lot more expensive than you realize. Divorce is expensive and it can cost more than many people are prepared to handle. Know that a contested, litigated divorce can cost as much as $50,000 (and in some cases even more).