Attaining an affordable divorce can seem somewhat unlikely if the decades of divorce horror stories floating around out there are to be believed. Then, there is the tangible data.
One report from US News and World Report estimates that the total average cost of a divorce nationally is $15,000. Even split two ways, that's a chunk of change and doesn't allow for some of the more contentious cases, usually among celebrities, that leap into the millions.
In the following article, we're going to show you the top ways of avoiding these nightmare divorce scenarios. Follow our advice, and you might even find yourself coming out better than you were before.
1. Talk to Your Ex
The very first tactic for obtaining an inexpensive divorce is to talk to your ex. Let them know it is not your intention to be combative or make the process any more painful than it already is.
Hopefully, together you can find some common ground and work as partners. At the very least, you should be able to agree on where you disagree. Often, knowing where the lines are drawn will help you both in the negotiation process.
You'll start learning that divorce isn't usually about wins and losses. It's more about both people doing what they can to reach an outcome they can live with, knowing there will be some emotional pain or discomfort along the way.
2. Consider Mediation
Another of the cheap divorce options out there is mediation. Mediation is a good option for those of you who can hold a civil conversation with your ex but can't see eye-to-eye.
Bringing in a neutral third-party to mediate is a tool that can get each of you to see where the other person is coming from. It also can help you to voice your demands in a way that does not shut down the conversation.
Particularly when child custody is at stake, mediation can be an excellent tool for reaching a civil agreement. Just make sure that you both understand how the process works ahead of time. Also, you'll need to be in agreement with the mediator you choose from the outset.
3. Choose Collaborative Divorce Agreements
A third low-cost divorce option is the collaborative divorce agreement. In collaborative divorce, you both agree ahead of time to avoid litigation. You can still get different attorneys, but everyone is working toward the common goal of settling things on non-litigious terms.
Collaborative divorce is ideal for couples who do not feel animosity for one another but who simply cannot live together as spouses any longer. Think marriages where you still see the value of the other person but are unable to come to terms with your basic beliefs, values, or goals.
4. Go Online
With divorce, low rates are also possible by going the online route, particularly if you are getting a divorce in one of these more expensive locations. Online divorces usually don't devolve into litigation. However, they require some degree of cooperation between the parties.
If one of you "lawyers up," then the possibility of a successful online divorce goes down the tubes. If you can withstand the process, however, you can avoid many of the attorney fees that go along with a divorce.
It's worth considering depending on the temperature of your split. Don't attempt it, though, if there are significant divisions in how you believe assets, debts, or custodial matters should be split.
5. Research Attorneys
Another of the affordable and easy divorce options, believe it or not, is to hire an attorney. Before you do it, however, you'll want to give careful consideration to whom you hire.
Don't just venture into the first office that you see that handles divorce cases. See what their reputation is like. You can do this in a number of ways.
- Online presence
- Referrals from people you know and respect
- Past cases where you know the outcome and respect the attorney's part in it
Finding the right divorce attorney doesn't have to break the bank. Look for someone with the right credentials and experience.
Pay attention to the way they communicate. Are they quick to return your emails or calls, and do they explain everything in a way that makes you feel informed? Place less attention on who gets to file first and more on the quality of your representation.
6. Think Beyond the Divorce
Far too often, the parties in a divorce fail to see the forest for the trees. They get hung up on the nickels and dimes without considering what financial life will be like on the other side.
For example, it's entirely possible that taking on an uneven distribution of the debt that couples often incur, to your disadvantage, can work out well if you're able to restructure assets or get a financially irresponsible ex off your bank account.
In each scenario, you'll need to do a cost-benefit analysis to see what is worth digging in your heels for and what is worth giving up. Try to look at what your financial situation will be like six months to a year down the road if you acquiesce on a few things to enjoy a better way of life down the road.
An Affordable Divorce Is Possible
In every divorce, there are going to be some things you'll be able to agree on and some things you won't. It's worth knowing what those things are and keeping a calm demeanor when discussing the issues.
If you really want an affordable divorce, civil communication will go a long way. Don't worry if you can't agree to everything one-on-one. Bring in a mediator if you have to.
From there, consider options such as collaborative or online divorce. Also, take the necessary time when hiring an attorney and try to think beyond the turmoil of the divorce to the better life that awaits you.
If you have explored all your options and you're ready to get experienced help that cares about what you're going through, it's time to contact the Hartley Law Office. We have years of experience settling divorce cases in the most civil manner possible at a rate you can afford.