Tips on How to Keep Divorce Costs Down
30 November 2015
A divorce is one of the hardest things to go through. However, with careful planning, you can make the process of ending your marriage and resolving money matters easier and also keep your costs down. Here are some hints and tips on the things you can do to help yourself.
Get a Fixed Fee Divorce Lawyer
A fixed fee divorce from a Divorce Lawyer is probably one of the best ways to keep your divorce costs down. The fixed fee is agreed upfront, as are the services and what to expect from your Divorce Lawyer, so you can budget accordingly.
At Co-op Legal Services we offer fixed fee divorce services, which includes a Divorce Lawyer to take you through the usual steps in the divorce process.
Fixed fee divorce is for uncontested (not disputed) divorce cases only, which account for 99% of divorces in England and Wales. For a contested divorce (disputed) or additional divorce services such as Court Orders, we provide a fixed hourly Divorce Lawyer rate.
Mediation is a conciliatory way for divorcing couples to try and reach an agreement in relation to matters that arise following a marriage breakdown, for example, money matters or matters relating to children. Mediation is usually facilitated by Divorce Lawyers who can refer you to a qualified mediator close to you.
Mediation is generally less expensive than going to Court and you can get legal advice throughout the Mediation process from your Divorce Lawyer. Not only can your Divorce Lawyer guide you through the process but they can also provide you with legal advice on the terms of any agreement you reach as well as dealing with implementation issues, for example drafting a Consent Order; which is the document that records the financial agreement you have reached.
As of 2014, all couples in England and Wales must attend an initial Mediation Information Assessment Meeting (MIAM), before issuing Court proceedings to resolve money matters.
Manage Your Emotions
Try and keep your emotions out of the negotiations, as it can draw out the divorce process for longer than necessary. The easiest way to do this is by thinking of your divorce and financial separation more as a legal process that you have to go through, to get on with your life, and less about getting even with your spouse. Do not use your Divorce Lawyer as a Counsellor.
Don’t Move in with a New Partner until your Divorce is Finalised
Wait until your divorce is finalised before moving in with your new partner. Failure to do this can complicate matters and impact your divorce settlement, as their financial assets may also be taken into consideration. It is also likely to increase your legal costs.
Get Sound Financial Advice
Get legal advice from a Divorce Lawyer early and ensure you have gathered together as much information about your financial circumstances before any initial meeting. Your Divorce Lawyer will need to know the facts before he/she can provide you with appropriate legal advice.
Evaluate your assets (for example, property and income), assess your outgoings (for example, school fees, loans and credit cards) and ensure the information is in well-organised folders, ready for you to access when needed.
Know When to Walk Away
It’s easy to lose sight of what is important when you are negotiating a settlement. Remember; the longer the negotiations drag on, the longer and harder it will be for you and your spouse to move on with your new lives and the higher your legal costs are likely to be. So know when to put a stop to the negotiations and agree on a settlement. Your Divorce Lawyer can advise you about this.