On top of draining you emotionally, divorce can drain your finances and leave you in a precarious situation, unless you go for divorce mediation. A dramatic outcome is avoidable with a few precautions and by asking the right questions.
Understand your situation
Rather than wait until the divorce is almost finalized to see what you may get, spend time planning ahead and consider what you have, what you will need, and the ways to improve both. The checklist should include:
- Finances: shared assets and liabilities, the value of your property and other investments and how they will be divided.
- Employment status. Is your current job secure enough? Will you need to (and can you) take a second job? Will you need to go back to work? If so, are you equipped or should you consider training or going back to school?
- Budget. Much like budgeting for groceries and household expenses, you need to know what will be needed in the divorce process and exactly how much you are prepared to spend. You should also consider your future budget: housing, necessary expenses and income.
- Child support. With the tools available nowadays, you can estimate what you will get (or have to pay) in child support and include that in your budget.
Where can you spend less during the process?
A long war is a costly war. By spending less time on details that matter less than the result, you can save money.
- Think about what you really want from this soon-to-be-past life. Can you afford to fight for furniture, chandeliers or even the pet? You will have enough on your plate later on, and every minute end up being dollars you can use later.
- Think twice about using your lawyer as a confidant. You do spend quite a bit of time with him/her, and considering the difficult moment you are going through, it is easy and understandable to confide. Remember they charge per hour, and likely more than a therapist or what a lunch with dear friends would cost.
Is divorce mediation a least expensive alternative to litigation?
There is. It’s mediation. Litigation can cost more than 10 times what a mediated divorce would. (The average cost of a litigated divorce has been reported $77,746 by a Boston Law Collaborative study). Court is not always necessary either because the law is clear and there need not be a dispute, or because both parties have found sufficient common ground to negotiate. Divorce mediation helps you save on legal costs, time and emotional distress.
Divorce Help is your resource place for all things divorce and family law.