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Winter is the season of divorce, and January is especially popular for marital splits. Maybe you too are resolved to start the new year by becoming single again. If so, be prepared for a lot of additional expenses and take note of these five tips on how to limit them.
Minimize Divorce Costs
1. Mediation: Going to court is very stressful for clients and lawyers, and it can cost a lot of money when you are paying an hourly fee or a daily trial rate. Agree to alternative dispute resolution for your divorce and a neutral arbiter will preside over the proceedings and decide property, custody, and other matters, just as a court would. But it will take less time and cost less money. Generally speaking, agreeing to agree will save money in any divorce; if you and your soon-to-be-ex can decide on how to split things, you could even file an uncontested divorce.
2. Direct Emotion Appropriately: Calling your attorney every time you think of something that bothers you about your spouse is inappropriate and expensive. While all lawyers understand that managing client emotions comes with the territory, they are not therapists. Get emotional counseling for that aspect of the divorce and you will also save money. Lawyer's fees add up, so be strategic and call your lawyer only when there is an actual issue for counsel.
3. Relinquish the Last Word: Do not insist on making points in your divorce to make your spouse suffer. The proceedings are not the place to get revenge. You do not have to be disagreeable and you do not have to fight over every term. When you agree to certain terms without a fight you might not get the satisfaction of infuriating your spouse ... but if that was so fun, wouldn't you two still be hanging around?
4. Don't Cling to Things: You are starting over, so how come you're clinging to that old toaster? If there are things you absolutely must have from the marital home, or you absolutely must remain there, do what you can to reach a fair arrangement. But do not cling to things to create unnecessary friction and expense.
5. Act Your Age: You're married and getting divorced so presumably you are an adult. As such, consider acting like one. Although divorce can be a raw and emotional time, it is also an opportunity. To the extent possible focus on your future and on the life you want to lead, rather than the one you are leaving behind. This will save you money and misery, as well as time.
Consult With Counsel
If you are considering a divorce in 2016, talk to a lawyer. Counsel can explain your options. Get help.