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Beyond Legal Fees: Other Factors Affecting The Cost Of Divorce

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Just because you plan to hire the cheapest lawyer in your town it doesn't mean you will have the cheapest divorce possible. Legal costs aren't the only things that affect the overall cost of the divorce. There are other salient factors to consider, such as:

Chosen Divorce Route

There are many routes for divorcing, and some inevitably prove more costly than others. Generally, the longer a divorce takes, the more costly it proves. These three examples will suffice:

  • Summary divorce – This involves a joint filing of divorce papers. It's one of the fastest forms of divorce, but it's only available for those who have only been married briefly (usually less than five years).
  • Mediated divorce – In this case, you sit down with a neutral third party to hammer out a deal. You then take the deal to court for approval.
  • Contested divorce – This is what you go through if you can't agree on the major issues with your spouse. It takes time because the court has to hold hearings and make rulings on different issues.

Presence and Age of Children

If you have children, then your divorce will involve the two contentious issues of custody and child support. This is especially true for younger children who need support and have no say in custodial arrangements. This translates to extra costs due to negotiations, court hearings, and court filings, depending on your chosen method of divorce.

Size and Nature of Debts and Assets

Debt and asset division are naturally some of the most contentious issues in divorce proceedings. Huge and complex debts and assets are even more difficult to handle due to the financial impact they are likely to have on you and your partner.

Consider a couple who holds just one bank account, a few debts, and a small family-run business. Such a setup may not be costly to handle compared to one involving businesses in different states, shares in different companies, and different layers of debts. For the latter case, you may need the intervention of highly skilled (and therefore costly) financial experts.

Nature of Your Relationship

Lastly, expect your relationship with your partner to play a part in the cost of the divorce, too. Generally, the more you can engage and agree on issues, the less you will spend. Otherwise, you will need other people (the court, mediator, lawyers, expert witnesses) to do it for you, which costs money.

Some of these factors, such as size and nature of assets and debts, are things you cannot control. Focus on the things you can control, such as your chosen route of divorce, to have an inexpensive divorce. To learn more, speak with a family lawyer like those at the Law Office of Diane F. Russell.