Divorce can be a stressful, expensive, and time-consuming process, but does it really have to be? The answer to this question is no. Getting an inexpensive divorce is possible, and we will tell you all about it. Here are 17 tips to reduce the cost of your divorce in 2020:
- Don’t believe an attorney that promises you the world
In the world of matrimony, there are very few guarantees. Therefore, always be realistic and get an attorney who would be able to help you decide on what to expect from a settlement. Attorneys who confidently assure you that you can get whatever you’re asking for should be avoided. This can lead to fighting for a long time with lots of fees. It may not be worth it in the end
- Look out for attorneys with free consultations
A lot of attorneys offer free consultations which could help you reduce your legal fees considerably. Don’t let a free consultation trap you into hiring that particular attorney. Make sure that you are completely satisfied before you settle down with one.
- Be upfront about costs
Money could be a significant source of dispute during a divorce and it becomes much worse when attorneys pile up extra fees which weren’t discussed with you initially. To save yourself from this drama, insist on having a written fee agreement upfront from your attorney which clearly states all the fees that will be charged from documents to legal costs.
- Work with associates
Since putting together a divorce case is routine, it is generally better to work with associates who have a cheaper hourly rate than working with a law firm’s partner. Seek an associate who is capable of handling the daily needs of your case.
- Efficiency makes the process less expensive
Some people are incapable of handling any aspect of the divorce process without help. For such people, the case can become more costly and much longer by leaving everything to an attorney. However, you can save costs by being very organized. For example, know how to create a statement of net worth instead of giving it all to an attorney and always walk into the attorney’s office well-organized with a list of questions prepared in advance.
- Have a detailed list of your assets
An attorney will charge more if they have to spend a lot of time searching for marital assets. To prevent your savings from being severely depleted, make a detailed list of all marital assets so that your attorney already has something to work with, instead of verifying each individually.
- Find an attorney you are comfortable with
If you have an attorney you feel comfortable talking with, you won’t be tempted to hide details about your divorce. In a divorce, every bit of information counts. You don’t want to start at a disadvantage by picking an attorney you don’t communicate with well. If your case isn’t prosecuted correctly, it could lead to more expenses.
- Help your attorney
The divorce process is a two-person job between you and your attorney. Since attorneys usually charge by the hour, the faster you respond to the requests of your attorney, the better your chances of saving money will be. When asked for a document, provide it immediately instead of delaying for weeks.
- Talk less about personal issues
If you are having emotional issues, it is best to consult a mental-health counselor rather than discussing them with your attorney. Your attorney is not obligated to listen to your problems but may decide to, resulting in more billable hours. More billable hours, of course, means more money being spent by you.
- Always cross-check your legal bills
As every bill comes in, it is best to check each one thoroughly and let your attorney know immediately if you have discovered any discrepancies. There might be an honest mistake in the number of billable hours that could cost you a lot of extra money.
- Don’t hide your assets
Do not succumb to the temptation to hide some assets from your spouse as it could have drastic consequences if discovered by the court. Disclose all assets to avoid influencing your case negatively, as no judge will trust someone who is not honest.
- Not all battles should be fought
You don’t have to go into battle over every disagreement. It is not realistic to expect to get everything you want. Choose your battles wisely to avoid increasing your legal fees while fighting for something that is not worth the cost, time, and effort.
- Don’t get a divorce
No doubt, the divorce process is one that could leave a considerable dent on your account balance. Before opting to take this road, try to resolve problems with your spouse and work towards saving your marriage.
- Have an uncontested divorce
A contested divorce can create a long, stressful, costly experience. From how slow the process is to its expensive nature, having a contested divorce can suck all the energy out of you. Contested divorces often include a disastrous judicial battle between the spouses which you can’t get through without the services of a lawyer. Because of the long stressful nature of the process, a lot of modern Americans would prefer to save their money and only engage in contested divorces as a last resort. This is where uncontested divorce comes in. A divorce without dispute means that the spouses discussed and decided all the most essential terms of their case without a trial. The goal is to have both parties reach a settlement agreement. In this case, the lawyer doesn’t have to do much. You can hire legal assistance to help with the filing process if you choose, but it isn’t necessary. Since an uncontested divorce means that there are no claims, only the intention to divorce, you can do so without a lawyer.
- Get a DIY divorce
Divorce without an attorney is completely legal and quite common throughout the United States. People often call this approach a DIY divorce. A lot of people believe that DIY divorces are only for couples who have no children or couples that had short marriages. Others believe that a DIY divorce is impossible if there is marital property to divide. However, in reality, there are no strict legal restrictions. Whether there are assets to redistribute or children to take care of, couples who want to undergo a divorce have the right to file for a divorce without an attorney. The significant difficulty associated with DIY divorces is having to go through the process yourself. This can be understandably discouraging. It is up to the spouses to test their negotiation skills and go through the entire process at their discretion. For those willing to take responsibility for organizing a fast and cheap divorce without legal assistance, there are many features available today that are designed to help. Your divorce can be very affordable thanks to online divorce with options such as divorce mediation and electronic filing.
- Divorce Mediation
Divorce mediation is a method that can help spouses reach an agreement regarding child custody or other crucial issues. As opposed to litigation, divorce mediation is a non-competitive process. Couples undergo mediation in order to make decisions together. The services of a mediator are employed. The mediator is a divorce specialist who knows how to remain neutral. They direct the negotiation process, ensuring that the interaction ends with both parties getting productive and mutually beneficial results. Based on the simple nature of this process, most US courts advise couples to engage in divorce mediation to settle their differences peacefully.
- Opt for an online divorce
Don’t want to go to the clerk’s office where you will spend hundreds of dollars? Then, you should consider an online divorce. This revolutionary way of filing for a divorce without an attorney is perfect for uncontested divorces. With an online divorce, you can get a complete divorce documentation kit in the shortest possible time at a minimal cost through the Internet. While you can contact a divorce attorney who provides a similar service for uncontested cases, they usually charge exorbitant prices.
Spouses can prepare their divorce forms using any of the hundreds of online divorce platforms available today. Simply conduct due diligence by checking out their reviews and years of experience. After choosing your preferred company, log on to the site, and answer a brief online questionnaire. Your responses will allow the system to create your divorce documentation kit, customizing it according to the specific rules of your state and individual terms of your divorce. This saves you the stress of having to learn what forms you need and how to fill them out, as they will automatically be tailored according to your situation. The client can usually obtain the forms by email within a couple of days, and access to the form is permanent.
Using an online divorce service takes much less time than completing everything yourself manually. The legal forms are also quite complicated, and the slightest error in completing the documents may require starting over. The printable forms prepared by the online divorce service are done so without any errors and ready to sign. All you need to do is present them to the proper court. The average cost of preparing divorce paperwork online is between $130 and $300, which is a reasonably affordable cost, especially when compared to the flat fees of attorneys for uncontested cases, which start from as high as $700.
How to get a divorce online fast
Getting a divorce online is not a complicated process. You can have it done in just six simple steps. These steps are highlighted below:
Step 1: Be sure to meet the requirements
Each state establishes requirements that must be met to obtain a simple divorce. Be sure to satisfy them all, otherwise, you will be forced to go through a regular divorce. Sometimes these requirements can include the marriage involving no minor children, the wife not being pregnant, no jointly owned real estate, and the length of marriage being short. Once you believe you have met all your states conditions, you can move on to the next stage.
Step 2: Download the forms
Courts usually have blank forms that can be used for your cheap divorce. These forms facilitate separation without the help of an attorney. This is not a complicated process. You just have to fill in the information and then submit the forms to the court clerk. Instead of getting the forms at a court, you can obtain forms online in PDF format.
Step 3: Complete the downloaded forms
You and your spouse should try to complete the paperwork together. By working together, you can avoid disputes, and you can both be sure that you have completed the forms accurately. If you cannot complete the forms together, make sure that each spouse has enough time to review the forms and make corrections. Spouses must work together in some manner because they will need to divide any property they jointly own. The petition will probably ask you to write who owns what property, as well as how any joint debts will be split.
Step 4: Sign the forms
You should sign the originals and make a couple of copies of the forms. You may need to have the signed forms notarized. Often, you can get the forms notarized in the clerk’s office of the court. To get a notarized form, be sure to sign in front of the notary. Also, bring enough personal identification. Usually, a valid driver’s license or passport is sufficient.
Step 5: File the forms
Your signed forms should be taken to the court clerk for proper filing. In some states, both spouses may be asked to appear in court together where the employee can ask you questions. You may also have to appear before a judge, depending on your state.
Step 6: Pay the fees
For the divorce to be final, you must pay to file the petition. Ask the court clerk for the amount of the fee and the acceptable payment methods. If you cannot pay the fee, ask the court for a fee waiver form and complete it.
As you can see, a fast and cheap divorce is possible. You can find a lot of necessary information online, get free divorce forms at your local court, and handle the filing process on your own. If you choose, you can entrust some of the process to professionals by using an online divorce service or requesting the help of a lawyer or legal assistant. It is up to you to decide if you need to go through your divorce using third-party assistance and what steps you want to take to make your divorce as cheap as possible in 2020. All the methods listed above are more affordable than opting for a challenging divorce and paying hundreds of dollars to an attorney. An online divorce really takes out all the stress and hassle in the divorce process.