What Can You Do About Divorce Costs?

Questions to ask lawyers

An average United States divorce, from start to finish, costs about $15,000. There are, of course, many variables that can make that figure fluctuate, some of which you can control and some of which are out of your hands. Here are a few of the big factors, how they affect the cost of your divorce, and what (if anything) you can do to ease the burden.

  • Where You Live. If any part of your divorce is contested in any way, you will need to find a divorce lawyer. And while hiring a lawyer does not necessarily mean you will have to go to divorce court (more about that later), it does mean you will be paying an hourly fee, and the average lawyer fee can vary state to state with whatever the market will bear (anywhere from $100 to $1,500 per billable hour). Check average rates in your area and budget accordingly.
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  • Make It Worth the Money. If you do need to find a divorce lawyer, make sure they have enough experience in divorce cases to make it worth the cost. General practice lawyers may only be involved in two or three divorce cases throughout their entire careers. However, the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers is an excellent resource to find attorneys in your area who spend at least three quarters of their professional time handling divorces. Furthermore, any time you have questions to ask your divorce lawyer, try to bring them up during regularly scheduled meetings, in order to maximize the time you are paying for.
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  • Going to Court. A divorce that goes to court will end up costing you thousands of extra dollars, even in the simplest of circumstances. Add on contested property assets, future financial security issues, and, of course, custody battles, and the costs can sometimes surpass $25,000 before everything is said and done. Settling the case out of court is not only the most cost effective solution, but also the quickest, the easiest to fit into your work schedule, and by far the least emotionally draining. Insofar as possible in your given circumstances, do whatever you can to avoid court time.

Whatever route your divorce takes, it might be a good idea to enlist the help of a divorce financial planner to help you more easily manage the cost of the process. They can not only help you budget money and time for the procedure, but can also give helpful tips, such as where to find litigation advice for free or affordable places to find a divorce lawyer in their experience. A divorce is hard enough. You need all the help you can get to make it as financially hassle free as possible.

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