Paying for a divorce can cause almost as much stress as the divorce itself. Yet it’s difficult to estimate what your divorce might cost. There is no typical divorce, and it can end up costing anywhere from $1,000 to $200,000.
The court fees are generally around $260, but the rest of the expenses come from your legal team. While you need an attorney to ensure that you don’t pay even more in the long run, it can be daunting to know you’ll be paying an hourly rate and won’t, at the end of the day, be able to control the number of hours you use.
There are some ways to manage divorce costs however, and we can help you focus on those.
Understand Your Attorney’s Payment Terms
Before retaining your Merchant Law attorney we’ll sit down with you and go over our hourly rate, our payment terms, when you’re expected to pay, and how much. Most of our clients start with a retainer and then pay more when the retainer is used up. This allows them to pay out their attorney fees gradually, over time, rather than worrying about paying one large lump sum after their divorce.
If you have a complicated life situation, run a business, or are a high net worth individual you are going to find all of this to be money well spent as it will protect your long-term interests and your most valuable income-bearing assets. At this point you’ll need to think of your attorney as an investment that you’re making into your financial future rather than as an expense that you’re paying out.
Add Legal Fees to Your Divorce Settlement
Legal fees are as negotiable as spousal support or any asset you might divide up. If your spouse makes more money than you, or if your spouse initiated the divorce, then you may be able to negotiate with your spouse to ensure they pay your legal fees, not you.
In some cases the judge may also require your spouse to pay legal fees. This happens most often when the spouse seems manipulative, unwilling to compromise, attempts to hide money from you, or otherwise causes the judge to levy sanctions against them.
Look for Ways to Reduce Divorce Costs
You can reduce divorce costs by:
Being organized. Get all of your financial paperwork together before you see your attorney.
Come in with a clear sense of your goals, or develop them after your consultation and stick to them.
Be ready to compromise. A mediated divorce, a collaborative divorce, or a divorce settlement cost far less than litigation, take less time, and tend to result in better outcomes for both parties.
Leave emotion at the door. At this point you should be making business decisions. Realize that you cannot use the divorce process to “punish” your spouse for wrongdoing. That’s not what it’s about.
If you go into the divorce process with the right attitude then you can maintain a lot of control.
Get Help Today
Our goal is to provide you with the most protection we can while being mindful of your needs. Make an appointment with one of our experienced, talented divorce attorneys today. We will help you walk away from your divorce in the strongest possible financial position.