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Divorce can be stressful enough without worrying about mounting legal costs.
But as Susan Steinbrecher wrote for Inc., you might be able to complete your divorce by paying less than $100. Cooperating with your spouse and choosing non-adversarial legal options, among other tactics, can potentially keep your divorce costs minimal.
Here are five ways you may be able to lower the costs of your divorce:
1. File for an Uncontested Divorce
While this isn't always the case, if you and your spouse agree on the major issues that face most divorcing couples (custody, property, spousal support, etc.), you can file for an uncontested divorce. In many states, an uncontested divorce involves a stipulation by the non-filing spouse to agree to the terms worked out in a divorce agreement or the terms submitted by the filing spouse. You'll still have to abide by the waiting periods for divorce in your state, but you won't have to shell out much to attorneys.
2. Don't Have Kids
This isn't a suggestion, just an observation. If you don't have kids, you won't have to worry about big things like custody and visitation or even little things like which spouse can claim which kid as a dependent for tax purposes. Figuring these issues out takes time and (often) money, so if it's just the two of you, you may have saved a few bucks.
3. Mediate Your Divorce
For a fraction of the cost of hiring dueling divorce attorneys, you can hire a divorce mediator to hammer out the difficult details in a cooperative setting. These mediators aren't free, but you can solve the major complications of your divorce without paying attorneys to bill hours and hours fighting in court.
4. Communicate With Your Soon-to-Be Ex-Spouse
Save money and time communicating through intermediaries like attorneys by actually communicating with your spouse. You don't have to be chummy, just civil enough to get this divorce filed away.
5. Share a Divorce Attorney?
If you have a completely uncontested divorce, you might be thinking about sharing an attorney -- just to advise you on filing divorce papers and checking to see if you missed something. That's what Inc.'s Steinbrecher did. But beware: The issues in a divorce are not always as settled as they seem, and due to the ethical concerns of an attorney representing two clients whose interests compete, it's best to consider hiring your own legal counsel.
No matter how much you're looking at saving, you should also probably run your divorce plans by at least one attorney, many of whom offer free consultations.