How Much Will My Divorce Cost?
Divorces are often costly, because when divorcing people allow their emotions to take over, rather than make rational fact based decisions. It is almost impossible to predict how much a divorce will cost. Many different factors affect the cost of a divorce, including the amount of property to be divided, whether the couple has children, how willing they are to compromise and work together, and whether they are receiving and following good legal advice..
One of the first expenses of a divorce is the fee to file for dissolution of the marriage. There are also other out of pocket costs for court reporters, process servers, experts, etc. If one spouse does not cooperate and fails to obey court orders, the expense increases, just to secure compliance.
Attorneys charge widely varying amounts, depending on factors including experience, reputation, and location. Generally, a divorce attorney will charge an hourly rate, so the more time your attorney has to spend on your case, the more expensive it will be. At times, clients forget that when they call to speak to their lawyer, it costs money and are therefore shocked at the amount of fees.
If you and your spouse are contentious in discussing the issues of your case, your attorney will have to spend more time preparing for and in negotiations. If the spouses refuse to compromise, they may have to spend more time in court, which can be extremely expensive. The attorney must spend significant amounts of time preparing for and attending court hearings, status conferences and trial.
Large amounts of property to be divided can mean increased fees. Custody disputes are especially expensive because a child’s welfare is an especially sensitive issue. Experts are often needed and the divorcing parents think of themselves, rather than the best interest of the children.
In some divorces, expert witnesses will be necessary. Experts may be required to value property, such as a business, which is to be divided. In a custody dispute, experts may be brought in to determine the best interests of the child. Expert witnesses charge fees, so the more complex the issue, the more they will cost. In an effort to keep the costs down, often one expert can be used so the battling expert syndrome can be avoided.
The best way to control the cost of a divorce is to try to work things out amicably with your spouse. Less contention means less time spent with lawyers and in expensive litigation. You and your spouse should try to reach agreements, rather than taking every issue to court. Reaching an agreement is also better for your chances at obtaining a satisfactory outcome.
An uncontested divorce is much faster and thus less expensive than a traditional divorce. However, uncontested divorces have strict eligibility requirements, including that the couple have no children, agree on the division of their assets, and do not request alimony.
Alternative dispute resolution methods can also help a divorcing couple save on costs. Mediation or arbitration involve a neutral third party, who works with the spouses to resolve issues. In a collaborative divorce, the spouses work with a facilitator to resolve their disputes with a minimum of stress and argument. These third-party professionals must still be paid, but it is far less expensive than going to court.
Do not let the fear of the cost of a divorce deter you from seeking representation. Please contact a family law attorney at the Silver Law Group in the Florida Keys to speak with an experienced attorney.