It’s divorce season. According to CNN Money, the day after Valentine’s Day starts a busy season for divorce lawyers as unhappy couples call it quits. Below I share 5 tips to save money on divorce in case you or someone you know is going through this unfortunate event.
There are many factors that contribute to February being the leading month with divorce filings. Not surprisingly, money is involved. CNN Money reports January is the busiest month of the year for bankruptcy filings leading couples to divide because of financial problems. Yikes! The weather is also to blame as the cold winter days keep couples indoors and closer to each other and so the fighting begins. Another factor — cheating on Valentine’s Day, said Alton Abramowitz, president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, to CNN Money.
“The person who is cheating is caught in the middle; they have to satisfy the spouse and their lover, and more often than not that’s an impossible feat to achieve,” Abramowitz said.
Keeping Divorce Costs Down
- Sign a prenup. Some states require you divide assets equally, but for those that don’t, you’ll be glad you figured out the details beforehand.
- Pro se. Do it yourself. This is especially doable in cases with few complications like having no children, a short marriage, or having few assets. Make sure to talk to your state’s Bar Association to find out if there is a pro se division to help with the legal paperwork.
- Let your spouse do the filing. There is a tendency to want to be the one who files for divorce, but those who file will end up paying the filing fee.
- Try to work out a settlement agreement with your spouse. The more you can settle legally between yourselves without third parties, the easier and cheaper it will be.
- Choose your lawyer carefully. Going for a flat-fee divorce lawyer can keep costs down if it’s a simple divorce. The attorney will take care of putting forms and preparing your paperwork. They won’t be able to help you negotiate custody, support, or asset division.
The best advice on saving money on divorce is not to get one in the first place. If you must file for divorce, use your reasoning and not your emotions to guide you through this complicated situation.
Have more tips on how to shrink divorce costs? Share them with us in the comments below!