One of the most pressing questions that preoccupy divorcing couples is "How much is my divorce going to cost?" The answer to this question is not easy to predict initially, as every couple navigates a slightly different divorce process. However, once a couple's priorities, needs, questions and financial situation are more thoroughly examined, a more precise answer can be determined.
It is important to understand that the nickels and dimes of divorce are determined by two distinct processes. First, there is the practical side of divorce, which involves splitting a unified household into two individual households. If you are divorcing, you are likely well aware that only one of you gets to keep your couch and only one of you gets to keep your grill. Replacing any items that your spouse retains ownership of will cost you money. Second, there is the legal side of divorce. For better and for worse, this cost can be easier to calculate than the practical side of the process.
Just as you will want to avoid in-fighting about issues that do not truly matter on the legal end of things in order to keep costs low, you will want to avoid making impulse financial decisions in regards to the practical side of your divorce. Usually the root of in-fighting on the legal end of things is strong negative emotion. If you avoid making overly generous, overly miserly or overly impulsive decisions about your property inspired by negative emotions, you may be able to keep costs down in relatively unexpected ways.
Although it can be tempting to navigate the legal elements of divorce on your own in order to save some money, it is generally a poor decision to divorce your spouse without an attorney's guidance. Navigating the legal process on your own may be penny wise but prove to be pound foolish. Without an attorney's guidance, you may ultimately end up with an unfair settlement. You may also be hit with surprises from your spouse's attorney that you are not prepared to handle alone.
Thankfully, you can work with your attorney to keep your divorce costs relatively low. If you and your spouse do not fundamentally disagree about child custody or property division matters, your attorney will likely be able to keep his or her fees to a minimum. And even if you have fundamental disagreements that must be sorted out, using your attorney's time wisely will help to ensure that your costs remain relatively low regardless.
The precise cost of divorce cannot be calculated in advance. However, remaining focused, intentional and calm about financial aspects of your divorce can aid in keeping costs low across the board.