Many people are shocked to discover how expensive getting divorced can be. A 2014 study by Aviva Insurance showed that on average, the hidden cost of divorce is £21,979 per person. These costs include legal fees, court costs, purchasing a new vehicle, buying a new home and the inevitable post-separation makeover that many individuals embark on after finding themselves back on the singles market again.
And you thought the wedding was expensive!
In order to take away some of the financial dread you may now be experiencing after reading the above paragraph, this blog shows you three ways you can cut the cost of severing your marriage ties; specifically your legal expenses.
Keep It Amicable
Even if you now loathe the sight of the person who you once thought you would spend the rest of your life with, it pays (pun intended) to try and keep things as amicable as possible during the divorce process. In 2014, the research illustrated that almost a third of divorcing couples said they tried to reach an amicable settlement to save on legal fees.
Fighting a divorce battle through the courts can send costs skyrocketing to between £5,000.00 -£15,000.00 per side and in some cases the sum can be even greater. By keeping the lines of communication open with your estranged spouse, you can negotiate much of the financial and childcare arrangements between yourselves, leaving the lawyers to simply draft up the final agreement.
Another way to prevent the cost of divorce from spiralling out of control is to enter into a fixed-fee arrangement with your lawyer. A fixed-fee arrangement simply means that your lawyer will provide advice and guidance as well as prepare the necessary paperwork for a set fee plus court costs. Some law firms provide two options for clients – a standard fixed fee for divorces where there are no complicated issues, and a ‘premium fee’ to cover cases where contentious points many be present (such as defining and separating pre-marital property or off-shore investments).
Most lawyers will only offer fixed-fee arrangements where the divorce is undefended (which applies 99% of the time).
Believe it or not, it is possible to obtain a divorce with no legal advice or representation whatsoever. If you and your partner have managed to sort out the division of marital property and organised the care of any children from the marriage yourselves, then you can conduct your own divorce.
DIY divorces are the cheapest way to dissolve your marriage, and many firms offer DIY divorce packages which you can purchase (with or without a document checking service). You can also download the forms from the internet free of charge. As with fixed-fee arrangements, you will be required to pay court fees separately.
Be warned, however, the break-up of a marriage is one of the most stressful events an individual can experience, and emotions are bound to be running high during negotiations between you both. Before deciding to rule out obtaining legal advice you need to be sure that you will not regret any concessions you make with regards to property and/or investments later on down the line when the dust has settled.
Although many people are adverse to ‘airing their dirty laundry’ so to speak, sometimes talking to close friends and/or family can provide you with a clearer perspective and you may decide that, despite the cost, it is prudent to seek professional advice for the sake of your best interests.
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