If you find yourself in a situation where you and your spouse are in need of a divorce, you might be wondering, “How much will this divorce cost?” The answer to this almost-standard question is: it depends. Like many other aspects of legal issues, the circumstances and conduct of the parties play a significant role in determining the extent to which attorneys and other professionals need to be involved.
Can you settle your case?
If you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse are in agreement with many of the terms of your divorce, then perhaps mediation is the most cost-effective and timeliest method of divorce for you. Mediators charge an hourly rate and often you prepay for five hours. Another option for consideration is the Collaborative divorce process, which may cost less money and time than litigation, but more than mediation because of the professionals involved, who all charge an hourly rate.
Do you need the Court’s help to decide your case?
If the case is emotionally charged and you are unable to come to a mutually satisfactory agreement using your attorneys or if you have exhausted the mediation process, you may be faced with litigating the divorce in the Court system. This avenue of divorce is typically the most costly. When there is contention and arguing between parties, there is often back and forth communications between their respective attorneys, which in turn incurs legal charges on both sides. It costs not only the most money, but the most time.
Regardless of which path is right for your divorce, the amount of money and time it will cost you depends on not just the method in which you choose to get divorced, but greatly on the level of cooperation of each party and their willingness to concede in the spirit of settlement. When your attorney charges you at an hourly rate, your costs rise when there is a necessity for many telephone calls and e-mail communications. Other expenses to consider are Court appearances and travel, Court filings and fees plus associated services, like the Sheriff’s Office for service. In addition to these, you also incur the costs associated with missed work time, child care expenses and travel.
How can I keep costs down?
Costs can be kept at a minimum if a few things are kept in mind:
- Keep a good attitude. Although this is indeed the most difficult part of divorce, keeping your emotions under control and doing your best to keep a calm demeanor with the spirit of compromise in mind can definitely help keep arguing and back and forth exchanges to a minimum, thereby holding down your legal costs. It’s okay if you need the help of a counselor for this piece, many people do!
- Keep your communication with your attorney to a reasonable level. Inasmuch as it is very important for attorneys and clients to have an open line of communication, it will help you keep costs down if you choose to correspond with your attorney only about necessary topics. Remember you are being charged for phone calls, e-mail exchanges and letters, so if you reserve those communications for times when it is truly important, you can save some time and money. This is not to say that you shouldn’t respond to your attorney when they communicate with you or that you should not tell them everything they need to know. Communication is paramount in order to represent you effectively. However, when people get emotional, often times their first reaction is to call their attorney, but once the opportunity to cool off has come and gone, they may decide calling the attorney may not have been necessary.
- Do some of the leg work on your own. If you are trying to keep costs down to a minimum, you may want to consider doing some of the administrative work on your own. You can redact the account numbers and some personal information on exchanged documents yourself and then scan and e-mail them to the attorney. You can scan in pleadings and correspondence that you are providing to the attorney with a clear, concise and easily recognizable title so that it can be saved to their computer, saving the time of the office staff and your money.
Regardless of which route is right for your divorce, we always recommend that you hire an Attorney to make sure that your best interests are protected and your goals are being met. We serve the Greater Nashua area and are here to help.
If you are in need of a divorce and would like to meet with one of our experienced attorneys, call us today at (603) 943-5647.