Don’t Go Through It Alone When Getting a Divorce

(Divorce in the US and generally) After realizing that a divorce is inevitable, one of the first questions you might ask is, “How much does it cost to hire an attorney?” Well-meaning family members and friends will relay stories to you about their divorce and how much they paid for legal fees. Because you’re worried about your finances, you may begin to wonder whether you can save money by getting a divorce without an attorney.

While it’s true that a divorce can be expensive, it is also true that going it alone may be more expensive in the long run. Unless you are a legal professional and know about divorce laws, it is highly recommended that you seek advice from a divorce lawyer.

Get a free consultation

What you may not be aware of is that most divorce attorneys do not charge a fee for the initial consultation. Meeting with an attorney for the first time is more informational than anything else. The attorney will ask you pertinent questions and review the divorce process with you. In turn, you will have an opportunity to ask the attorney questions, including how to pay legal fees. A consultation will also help both you and the attorney determine whether you can develop a working relationship.

Is the attorney knowledgeable?

A consultation will also help you determine how knowledgable the attorney is about the divorce process.

Filing divorce documents with the court, notifying the other party about the divorce papers, knowing how to negotiate a settlement with the opposing attorney, and appearing in court before a judge to resolve the case are skills that attorneys acquire through education and experience. This process can be very intimidating to lay people who want to handle their own divorce.

Not only do experienced attorneys know about court procedures, more importantly they know the state laws that govern divorce proceedings, and all of the legal rights and benefits to which their clients are entitled. In other words, they know how to read the legal fine print so that they can go after everything that their clients deserve.

What about the children?

Divorce can take an emotional toll on anyone, but especially on parents with dependent children. There are many issues that have to be settled concerning children, such as with whom the children will live, how much the non-custodial parent will pay for child support, who will have the children on the holidays, and how often the non-custodial parent will visit the children. These issues are enough make the tempers of a divorcing couple flare out of control. A divorce attorney can advise you of the dangers of becoming too emotional, and the importance of setting aside your feelings and maintaining civility with your spouse for the best interest of the children.

It’s time to talk about money

Since attorneys know that potential clients are concerned about divorce expenses, most attorneys will discuss their fees during the consultation. As a potential client, you can expect to hear about costs for such work as filing court documents, serving the other party, attending court hearings, and communicating with you during the case.

There is a lot at stake when you decide to dissolve a marriage, especially if you and your spouse have been together for a long time and have children. While finding ways to save money is commendable, paying for an experienced attorney, instead of handling the divorce yourself, will be well worth the cost.

About the author

This article was written by Karl Stockton for the team at Kanetix. Need information on mortgages? Visit them to see their mortgage primer, as well as other helpful information on the subject.

The Cost of Divorce in the UK

Below is a guest divorce law blog post regarding the cost of divorce in the UK, written by Ian Nuttall, a financial writer who covers a number of personal finance topics on his blog. He recently launched a free debt consolidation calculator that you might be interested in. For more information, or to connect with Ian, you can add him to your G+ Circles.

The Cost of Divorce in the UK

The number of divorces in the UK has risen by almost 5% in the last two years with 120,000+ divorces every year. Combining expensive lawyers fees and court fees, the cost of a divorce can be very expensive – even if the divorce is mutual and uncontested.

There are usually two types of divorce, and each will dictate which process you take and how much it will cost.

A mutual and uncontested divorce

If you and your partner have both agreed that the marriage has ended and can be amicable with splitting of assets, parenting duties and all that comes with a separation, then the costs of a divorce in the UK can be significantly lower.

If you use a lawyer to facilitate the divorce, it could cost you £1,000+ in lawyers fees plus £347 for court fees, a document swearing fee and a decree absolute.

An alternative to this in the UK would be to choose an online divorce company. Many of these companies now charge you only a very small fee of £20-100 for their service. You may still have to pay the court fees but it is 90% cheaper than using a solicitor.

One of the main negatives to these “quickie” divorces is that you have to declare a set reason for the divorce. This means one party may have to admit fault in the relationship, even if there was no fault or blame.

A contested divorce

Contested divorces are where one party pushes for the divorce against the others wishes. These can be very tricky and often it is difficult to divide assets or parenting duties without negotiations and a mediator.

The lawyer fees for this type of divorce can range from £3,000-£20,000+ depending on the complexity of the disputes. Essentially, lawyers charge £150-200 an hour so it depends entirely on how long it takes to resolve the issues of the divorce.

With a contested divorce, it may be beneficial to use a intermediary or family friend to try and resolve as many decisions as possible before the lawyers are used.

You could also contact a lawyer who offers a free initial consultation to get an idea for how long it might take and what the potential costs would be.

Additional costs of a divorce

There are other costs beyond the actual divorce process itself that need to be considered as well and these can often be even more expensive than the actual divorce. Here are few areas you’d need to consider:

  • Maintenance payments
  • Setting up a new home
  • Child care costs
  • Buying a second car

There might even be more expenses depending on your personal situation. Whatever stage of the divorce process you are in, the cost could be anywhere from £20-£20,000+ and ultimately, the process you take is down to your relationship with your partner and how amicable you can both be.