September 13, 2018
The most important thing a couple can do to reduce the costs of a divorce is to eliminate, or at least narrow as much as possible, whatever areas of disagreement you may have with your spouse. The more disagreements there are and the less cooperation between parties, the costs in time, energy, emotion and money increase. There are many other things to consider when getting a divorce, but reducing the costs of a divorce is key. The attorneys at Cravens & Noll P.C., can work with you to try to limit as many costs as possible.
Reduce the areas of disagreement
Virtually any issue in a divorce such as splitting up assets, spousal support and child custody, if not resolved through an agreement could be litigated so a judge decides the outcome. The more litigation there is, the more costs there are and, depending on the circumstances, they could be substantial. An uncontested divorce, as opposed to one that’s hard fought, has a much lower cost.
That being said, being agreeable for the sake of making a divorce less expensive can have long term costs. You need to at least talk to an attorney before seriously engaging in any negotiations with your spouse. You may have rights you aren’t aware of and be entitled to certain things. You may just give all that up if you aren’t fully informed of the law. It’s much better to make an informed decision on a divorce agreement than quickly making one then later trying to pull it apart.
Resolve your differences with the help of a mediator
If the parties can’t make an agreement amongst themselves a mediator may be a wise investment. A mediator is a neutral third party who tries to help parties resolve disputes. They are often attorneys or retired judges. They charge by the hour and that expense is normally shared by the parties, so there is a cost to using a mediator. But if the parties are open-minded and willing to get help with coming to an agreement this can be far less expensive than litigation.
Retain the right attorney
An attorney is like any other professional. The more he or she has done something, the more knowledge he or she should have, the more effective and efficient the person should be. A “jack of all trades” attorney who takes a variety of cases may charge less but you may end up paying more for the attorney’s on the job divorce training. Things may take longer and the result may cost you far more in the long run than you saved in the short term, especially if a court decision needs to be appealed.
Cooperate with the attorney.
You may dread the divorce process and try to put it out of your mind but that won’t make it go away or speed up the process. If your attorney asks you for information or documents, respond in as timely a way as possible. Be proactive and cooperative. Don’t put things off until the last moment or skip scheduled meetings. The less the attorney needs to follow up with you, the less the attorney has to spend time getting what he or she needs, the lower the bill. Time is money. Don’t waste it.
If you live in the Richmond, Chesterfield, Henrico and Harrisonburg areas and you think your marriage will end in a divorce, call Cravens & Noll P.C., at 804-330-9220 or fill out our online contact form to schedule an initial consultation. We can discuss your situation, your legal rights, the potential costs of a divorce and your best options for moving forward.