There is a surprisingly wide range when it comes to the cost of divorce in the U.S. It depends on where the couple lives, how complicated the divorce is, and how much disagreement exists on important issues. To explore some ways to cut down on the cost of your divorce, read below.
Simple and Quick
Almost all states offer couples who meet the criteria a less-expensive way to get divorced. It's known by various names (often called "simplified"), and it's aimed at couples who don't have any minor children. To go through a simplified divorce, the couple needs to have already worked out issues like property, debt, spousal support, and more. This type of divorce is not for those who look forward to hashing things out in court. In most cases, a single appearance to finalize things is the only court you'll see. This type of divorce can usually be accomplished by the couple sitting down together and filling out a form that is provided by the local county clerk's office. The only financial outlay to expect is the filing fee, which varies from place to place but is usually less than $500. Be cautioned, however – you cannot expect to receive any help whatsoever with the divorce form from anyone in the clerk's office. With that in mind, it's probably best to have a divorce lawyer review your forms before you file them.
Aim for Agreement
For those with minor children and more assets, you can still save money if you make it a point to keep disagreements out of court. Before you even speak to a lawyer, make a list of divorce issues and come to some agreement about things like child custody, bills, property, and more. Even after the process has begun, don't hesitate to use a mediator to help you resolve problems outside of court. These so-called kitchen table divorces are less expensive and less stressful for everyone concerned.
Make Them Pay
If you are staying in a bad marriage because you cannot afford to pay for your own lawyer, there may be a solution for you. If you can show an income disparity between you and your spouse, you may be able to have the judge order your spouse to pay some or all of your legal bills for the divorce. Judges tend to view these issues as a matter of fairness. One party should not have to do without legal representation due to financial reasons.
Speak to a family law attorney to learn more.