The least expensive divorce: Surprisingly, going to court is not a requirement for getting divorced, and if you can agree with your soon-to-be ex-spouse on separation of assets, you’ll save thousands. One option is to use a mediator — a third-party person who helps couples reach a fair agreement. No attorneys, no divorce court, just two people trying to make the best financial decisions for both of their futures with the help of a non-biased third party. With mediation, you’ll pay the mediator, an attorney to simply look over the agreement and the costs of filing to the court. This will typically cost less than $5,000.
Did you know? Doing everything on your own can cost as little as $50 to $250 total.
The most expensive divorce: If you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement either on your own or with the help of a mediator, you’ll have to go to divorce court. Since both of you will need to hire an attorney who charges by the hour, things can get very expensive, very fast. You’ll also need to pay court fees and filing fees, not to mention miscellaneous expenses such as travel and time missed from work. Keep in mind that the longer it takes to reach an agreement, the more expensive your divorce will get.
Fun fact: Mel Gibson’s divorce from Robyn Moore Gibson was estimated at $425 million, according to Wikipedia.
Unless you’re a celebrity making millions, most likely you and your spouse will need to work together and be fair (I know, if that were possible, the divorce may not have even happened). Dragging it out only ties you longer to your ex and costs you more money. Three tips for saving money include:
Final tip: If you do need to meet with a lawyer, be prepared. List out all your assets and retirement accounts, have a few questions written down and be as organized as possible. This helps the process move much faster, thus eliminating additional hourly expenses.
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