Getting divorced is not only emotionally taxing and difficult, but can also be incredibly expensive. If you are on a budget, especially if your spouse earns more money than you do, you may be worried that you won't have as much say in the divorce details. In reality though, reaching an agreeable divorce settlement often comes down to how prepared you are, rather than how much money you have to spend. Here are a few actionable tips for getting divorced on a budget:
List Your Wishes and Priorities
Keep in mind that you will most likely be paying a lawyer by the hour, so it will save you money to be efficient in your communication. A good way to do this is to start off already knowing what you are hoping to achieve in your divorce. Make a concise list of your wishes, including your preferences for child custody and division of assets. Gather all financial and legal documentation and create an organized file before meeting an attorney to save even more time and money.
Attempt to Be Civil
The more that you and your spouse can agree, the less expensive your divorce will be because it will involve less time and less paperwork than a contentious divorce. If you and your soon-to-be-ex are still on speaking terms, it may be worthwhile to have one amicable, unemotional conversation about the details. For example, you may want to sit down over coffee and come to an informal agreement about what you would both like to do with your house, how you would like to share custody, etc.
If your marriage was abusive or dysfunctional this will most likely not be possible. In that case, it is probably more efficient (and safe) to have all communication go through your lawyer.
Hire a Divorce Lawyer
Sometimes when someone is on a strict budget, they think they should save money by representing themselves in the divorce and filing all the paperwork on their own. This is usually a mistake, however, because hiring an experienced divorce attorney is the best way to get through your divorce quickly and efficiently with the best possible settlement. The initial payments to your lawyer will pay off if you end up with more spousal or child support or a greater share of your assets than you would have otherwise.
Since a divorce attorney knows the divorce process in your state inside and out and has streamlined processes in place, your divorce will most likely be finalized more quickly. This can not only save you money in the long run but allows you to move on with your life sooner.
By following these tips, you will get through your divorce process with as little stress and financial cost as possible.