The “costs” of divorce deter many people from leaving their marriages, even if it is the right decision. While there is no simple answer to minimizing the emotional costs, knowing what to expect can save you time and money. Unfortunately, many of the same issues that cause marriages to fail also contribute to difficulties in coming to reasonable agreements during the divorce process.
A recent article by James Sexton provides some guidance that is applicable to many of our clients. These tips can help you save time and money when hiring an attorney to handle your divorce.
Write Down Your Goals
If you have children, what type of custodial schedule do you think would be best for the children? How would you like marital property to be divided? If you’re a dependent spouse, how much support will allow you to meet your reasonable needs? One of the first steps in an initial consultation is ironing out these details, so if you know these things going in you can hit the ground running.
Know Your Family Finances
Many clients come into our office without a clue about the family’s financial situation. A central part of resolving financial issues in a divorce is reviewing financial documents such as bank statements, bills, taxes, 401(k)s and retirement accounts, insurance policies and pay stubs. Making copies of these documents in a safe place (e.g., password-protected cloud storage) before going to see a divorce attorney will save you money. Attorneys spend a lot of time gathering these documents and it can be a money drain obtaining these documents from the opposing side.
Careful with Joint Accounts
Purchases made with joint accounts can create problems in trying to sort out what is separate and what is marital. While dividing the balances in these accounts and closing them upon separation is ideal, it’s not always practical. However, removing half of the funds and depositing them into your own separate account is an option to consider in circumstances where separation may impede your access to funds.
Figure Out How Much Money You Need.
The amount of money that will allow you to reasonably live as you’ve grown accustom and through retirement taking into account your current income is a key figure. It determines your ability to pay support or the amount of support you may be able to receive. Doing a simple budget is the first step in determining this amount. In North Carolina, filling out a financial affidavit is a great way to determine how much money you need and any shortfalls that you can request your supporting spouse to cover.
Separating Legal Advice from Personal Advice
Although being a divorce attorney requires some personal counseling, attorneys are not trained for it. In fact, attorney’s hourly rates are probably higher than therapists who are trained to provide personal counseling for parties going through a divorce. Not only will this save you money in attorney fees, but it will allow you and your attorney to focus on your primary goal of winning your divorce.
The divorce attorneys at Batch, Poore, & Williams, PC can help you get what you deserve and make sure you are treated fairly. However, we also care about your well-being post-divorce and look to assist clients in finding ways to make the process more affordable. Whether you decide to hire us or another attorney, these tips will help you save time and money in the long run that you can dedicate to activities that you enjoy.
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