When families realize that they are going to get a divorce there are a lot of fears and worries. One of them is how much is this going to cost and am I going to be ok on the other side. Luckily for you, there are 3 things you can do to reduce the cost of your divorce:
- Invest in a good settlement attorney: I know, you’re thinking of course she says get an attorney! She wants the business! We all want to grow our businesses, sure. But what I really want to do is help you avoid very costly mistakes. A good attorney in an investment with long term positive returns for you and your family.
We can help avoid financial mistakes that can cost you thousands. How much do you know about the taxation of retirement accounts? What is a QDRO? How can is save you tens of thousands? How about structuring the sale of your house? How will the divorce impact your retirement? How can you know that what you got in your divorce is fair and structured well? A good attorney can help with all of these issues.
Settlement expert attorneys can help you avoid having to go back to court later and spend more money to fix your mistakes. You don’t know what you don’t know, and when you mess it up, it may cost you a lot. Sometimes we can fix it with a lot of work after the fact. But sometimes we can’t fix it. We’d rather help you avoid the problem in the first place.
Good attorneys can help you have a better co-parenting relationship in the long run. If you have kids then you want a well written parenting plan. That way if anything changes in the future, you’re already prepared. It will reduce your future conflict if you get everything well structured now.
For more guidance on how to find a good attorney, check out our blog here with thoughts and advice. Our series 4 Steps To Your Best Divorce also has excellent guidance on how to reduce the cost and the emotional harm of your divorce.
1.5 Find the Right Process: I should have included this one in the Facebook video, but I’m adding it here. Another way to vastly reduce your cost is to find the right divorce option for your family. You can choose from:
Litigation (eg: Cut Throat)
For information on these processes, check out our 4 Steps To Your Best Divorce Step 2: Find the Right Process.
- Get a good therapist: The joke in the office is that we are equal parts lawyer and therapist. We are privileged to help people in the hardest times of their lives. We help them work through some of the most difficult decisions possible. And of course that means that we frequently act like therapists, but not nearly as good. We know enough to play a therapist on TV, but not enough to actually help you.
You can save thousands by working through your tough emotional situations with a therapist instead of your attorney. Clients have paid us a lot of money to be armchair therapists. That is not our training, and our hourly is much more expensive than a therapist covered by insurance. We would prefer that you spend that money on a real therapist and doing something fun with your kids or your friends.
It can be a challenge to find a therapist who takes your insurance, but its worth the effort. You’ll have a much better outcome long term, for less money, if you have a good therapist to help you through your divorce.
- Be ready to reach agreements: This is a huge money saver. We spend so much time (1) pestering people to get us the documents we need, and then (2) guiding people who just can’t bring themselves to reach a final agreement. If you have your documents, and are able to reach a final decision, then you can save yourself a lot of money.
The first thing you can do is get the correct documents to us in a timely manner. We are required to do financial disclosures as part of the divorce process. Your attorney will guide you through what these are and what you need to get. But we frequently spend a lot of time pestering our clients to get them to us on time. Another common thing we see is not getting us the type of document we need. For example, we will get just screenshots of a balance, and not the full statement. Then we spend more of your money trying to get you to give us the correct document. The more efficiently you can get us the correct documents, the more money you save.
You also need to be able to make a decision at the end. One way to set yourself up for success is to identify your goals early in the process, and before mediation. It is important that you spend the time necessary to review all the financials, think about the many options available to you. You need to weigh your choices and think about the long term ramifications of the decisions that you make.
But once you’ve take the time to consider all of that, you have to be able to agree to something. It’s never going to be perfect. It’s never going to be everything you want. But you have to be able to take a deep breath and say that good enough is enough. Your attorney won’t let you sign an agreement that is not fair to you. If your attorney is telling you not to sign, then you should listen. But, if they are saying that its fair, and its good enough for you, then its time to take that leap and sign it.
Early in my career I had a mediator tell me “If both of them are unhappy with the agreement, but they can live with it, you know you have a good agreement.” It’s not great, but it’s true. If you can understand and embrace that then you’re well on your way to moving forward with your better life.
If you would like us to help you save money in the long run on your divorce, please contact us for your free 15 minute consultation.