It has been said that a divorce will cost as much as you can afford. Of course, the true cost of a divorce depends on many variable factors and not all of them are financial. The emotional toll of a divorce can be just as draining as the legal fees are to your bank account. When contemplating the monetary cost of an impending divorce it is usually best to separate your emotions from the finances. Instead, treating your divorce as a calculated business transaction can help you save time, money and trouble.
Saving money on the costs of divorce is not a trivial matter. With most contested divorces in the Australia costing an average of $10,000 to several thousand’s today, reducing the cost of your own divorce can be critically important to your future. Other than filing and paperwork fees, most of the money spent on a divorce usually goes to the lawyers. If your divorce requires you to utilize an attorney you can bet that the more complicated your case is, the more expensive it will be.
A contentious divorce necessitates the use of lawyers in order to make sure issues like property division, child support and spousal maintenance are handled in an equitable fashion. If one spouse hires an attorney to contend the issues, it is a sure bet the other spouse will need to hire a lawyer too. With attorney’s hourly fees currently averaging between $400 and $500, along with up-front cash retainers ranging from $500 to $10,000, the bills can add up very quickly. With that much cash changing hands, it is little wonder that divorce has become a big business, creating a $6 billion annual industry in Australia alone.
The easiest way to cut down divorce costs is to simply try to get along with your spouse. If a couple can agree on major issues like child support, child custody and division of marital property, they will spend far less on lawyers, legal fees and court costs. A custody battle alone can result in additional costs to pay for witnesses, psychiatric evaluations, guardians and extra lawyer’s hours. The least expensive option is to work with your spouse outside of the courtroom to settle your differences instead of leaving it up to the court and lawyers to settle matters for you.
Mediation is an option that can help save money in a divorce. Family lawyers that are also professional mediators can facilitate negotiations between spouses and help them to complete their own paperwork, greatly reducing the number of hours billed on the case. A mediator’s hourly rate may be the same as a divorce lawyer’s, but the number of hours billed will be far less.