There's No Such Thing As A Cheap Divorce, But You Can Keep Costs Down

There's an old saying that if you "want to stay wealthy, stay married." That's because divorce is expensive. Not only do you no longer have anyone with whom you can pool your resources and share expenses, you have legal fees and possibly support payments. So, how can you keep the cost of your divorce down?

1. Use Mediation Counseling As Much As You Can

Mediation is one of the big buzzwords in today's divorce court because it helps keep the courts from being bogged down with motion after motion while spouses sort out all the details of their divorce.

Mediators are neutral parties and hearings are held in conference rooms, not courtrooms. You and your spouse can use the mediation to sort out what you can agree on and what you can't, and to try to reach a middle ground on as much as possible without having to get a judge involved. Often, that means working out custody and visitation schedules that both parties can live with, as well as more mundane details, like dividing up the china and silverware.

2. Be Realistic About Your Finances

If you have $25,000 in equity in your home and a couple thousand in the bank, you don't want to spend $20,000 paying your attorney to fight over your fair share of the assets. That doesn't mean that you should walk away with nothing, but realize when it's time to quit fighting - or even quit negotiating - and just let a judge make the decision if your spouse isn't inclined to be cooperative.

3. Put Your Strongest Efforts Towards The Parenting Plan

Put your effort and money into the parenting plan, because that's the aspect of your divorce that's going to affect you the longest - until your youngest child turns 18, at least. It's also the thing that you can spend the most money going back into court over and over again if you aren't happy with the original plan.

Make sure that your attorney is aware of your desires as far as custody and visitation go from the outset, and set clear goals around that.

4.) Remember That This Is Meant To Be An Ending

Most of all, remember that divorce is meant to be an uncoupling - your ultimate goal is to end up detached from your current spouse and able to move forward with your life. If you keep that in mind, it can help you avoid getting psychologically stuck on the current situation - which can lead to unnecessary fighting over things that won't matter in a few years.

Before you head into negotiations or court, and before you fight over the furniture or the car, ask yourself how much any of it really matters to you now, and if any of it is going to matter in two or three years once this is over. If you're fighting over a beloved pet or the right to be at your child's piano recitals, that's important. Many other things, like who gets the better car, just aren't. When working with a divorce lawyer, such as Dianna Harris, Attorney, make it clear what things are most important to you. This will keep your divorce process more focused, which will keep costs down.