Most of us think of filing for a divorce as an expensive and emotional process. While the latter is most certainly true, the former doesn’t have to be your reality. There are many ways to save throughout the divorce process so that you come out ahead—with or without the court ruling in your favour.
I realise this may be a bit of a dull or depressing post for most people (and hopefully something that most of us will not have to deal with) but I want this blog to cater for all reader types! Plus… it is always good to know this stuff – just in case!
Save on Filing and Litigation Fees
Two of the biggest expenses you’ll encounter in the divorce process are the fees for filing petitions and paying your solicitor. But there are a few strategies you can employ to keep yourself from having to pay these exorbitant fees. First, allow your spouse to be the one to serve the papers; it may hurt your ego a little, but it will save you a whopping £340 upfront and maybe even the £45 you’ll need to obtain the decree absolute later on. If your relationship with your spouse is amicable enough to decide on child custody and divide up property and possessions, you may be able to handle the divorce yourselves or with just a bit of help from a mediation service to avoid paying hefty litigation fees.
Even if you decide to enlist the help of a solicitor, you can still get a cheap divorce. Make sure your personal assets and financial records are organised to assist in the case building process. Resist the urge to contact your lawyer over every question, concern, or doubt that comes to mind; instead, keep a list of these questions in-between visits and address them at your next meeting so that you won’t be blind-sighted by a large and expensive accumulation of billable hours.
If you and your spouse are unable to reach an agreement about outstanding debt in the form of mortgages, car payments, and credit card bills, chances are good that the court will rule to split the debt 50/50 between spouses. As such, it may not be a good idea to move out of the house or give up the car—that is, unless your spouse agrees to assume full financial responsibility for the outstanding debt. If you end up with the house, consider selling furniture, electronics, books, and small appliances that are not wanted by either party to help offset the costs of the divorce.
Save Money on Assets
Joint bank accounts can present a huge problem in a divorce, so make sure your these accounts are frozen during the litigation process so that neither party can touch the funds. Open up new checking and savings accounts for the money you earn so that your spouse does not have access to them. And don’t forget the other assets you’ve shared as a couple when making your demands in the litigation process: frequent flyer miles, holiday properties, club memberships, subscriptions, and prepaid insurance can all be huge long-term money savers if you manage to work out an agreement with your spouse or get the court to rule in your favour.
Anyone got any tips or tactics to add?
This post was featured the Canadian Budget Binder, thank you!