There are several questions that run through your mind as you are preparing for a divorce. One important aspect that people often overlook is the cost of divorce. You probably know that divorce is expensive. You have seen it on television or read it in a magazine. Maybe you even heard it from a close friend who went through the same. While you might know it that it's true, it isn't until you are in the middle of it that you realize the full extent of the cost of divorce.

Some divorce expenses are avoidable. Sadly, others are not. It may surprise you that the simple actions you take at the onset of your divorce have an impact on the overall cost of divorce.

You can't always avoid certain costs such as attorney fees. Even if it’s not possible to reduce the costs altogether, you can prepare for them, which can help reduce your stress. This gives you the opportunity to budget so that when the time finally comes, you don’t feel like you are in a financial squeeze.

Divorce and Finances

money cut in half

So, what is the final cost of a divorce? Well, as it turns out, this is a loaded question that is practically impossible to answer because every divorce is unique. Some reliable sources on the internet claim that the average cost of divorce is anywhere between $4,000 and $15,000. This varies depending on whether it’s a contested divorce or a more amicable one.

When people think of the cost of divorce, they often think of attorney fees. But you might not know that there are other legal fees with divorce as well. If you are the one filling for a divorce, you have to to pay a fee of $170 if you don't have a lawyer and $180 if you have representation. If you need to use a Professional Process Server who will serve your spouse with the divorce papers, then it is going to cost you between $50 and $200, or more depending on the complexity. Furthermore, if you need to file a motion during the divorce so that a judge can take action in your case, you are looking at a $31 motion filing fee.

Before Filing for Divorce

money. application form, wedding rings, calculator and pens

You need to understand that you cannot serve your spouse with the divorce papers yourself. However, there are cheaper alternatives to go through this process. One method is having your spouse accept the papers and officially acknowledge they have received them. Another method is using certified mail. While some of these legal fees seem costly, properly planning for them will help save you money down the road. Without knowing all the specific details of your case, it’s hard to determine what kind of divorce services you will need. This makes it difficult to determine an exact figure of the total cost of divorce.

What’s more frustrating is that your divorce is likely to hit hard on your wallet even after the court issues its decree. It’s a common misconception that once you sign the papers, there are no more divorce tasks. There are a whole lot of post-divorce responsibilities that you need to take care of. You will soon realize that a number of divorce expenses will continue to pile up years after you and your spouse have parted ways.

Unexpected Cost of Divorce

money folder to a broken heart shape

Getting a divorce is perhaps the hardest process in a married couple’s life. But sometimes, it’s the best option, despite how heartbreaking it is. Although you had the best intentions going into your marriage, things happen, and when they do, it might be in your best interest to throw in the towel and move on.

Again, there are certain steps that you can take to ensure your protection. But even if you go ahead and follow these steps, costs you don't expect can blindside you. If you are not careful, the financial fallout from a failed marriage can haunt you for years to come. When you estimate much how much your divorce will cost, always prepare for more.

Division of Assets

Moving Expenses

Alimony

Child Support

Insurance Charges

Counseling

Managing the Cost of Divorce

distributing money

Some legal costs might seem costly but can save you a lot later on. A good example is mediation. If you and your spouse decide to mediate your divorce, you will have to pay a private mediator by the hour for their services. In most cases, mediators are also divorce attorneys, and their charges are more than likely the same as their legal fees.

If you and your spouse decide to settle your divorce through mediation, it means avoiding the significant expenses of motions, discovery, and trial preparation as well as the trial itself. Legal fees when a divorce case to trial are expensive and often costs tens of thousands. Avoiding these kinds of expenses by sharing the costs of mediation will go a long way in reducing the cost of divorce. Not to mention the non-financial advantages of having your divorce settled sooner, and on your own terms, amicably.

Asset Valuation

Limiting Expenses

Going from Double to Single

Moving Forward

After your divorce, you must rebuild your finances. One of the first steps will involve taking an inventory of your net worth, which includes your assets and liabilities. If you notice that your net worth is lower than you deem comfortable, it is important that you consider some big lifestyle changes. This might involve leasing a less expensive car or selling your house.

You will also have to look at your current expenditure and compare it to your income. Scrutinize the money that you are getting in versus the money going out. If you are spending more than you bring in, you will end up relying on credit to make up for the difference. It’s advisable that you do not use your new financial situation as an excuse to get yourself into debt. This is because it could take you into a financial spiral that can take years to climb out of.

When financial struggles are on the horizon, the dream of a happy post-divorce life is harshly reduced. This often results in trading one state of unhappiness for another. Starting to examine your finances early during your divorce will go a long way in helping you determine an easier way to a more realistic outcome.

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