Whether you are close to retirement or still have many years of earning an income ahead of you, a divorce can upend your financial situation and damage any security you may have had. In essence, a divorce divides a couple’s wealth and doubles their household expenses. Additionally, the expense of the divorce process can be exorbitant. Some estimate that the average divorce can cost a couple in their 50s as much as $100,000.
If these details make you nervous, you are not alone. However, it is possible that remaining in your marriage is not an option. Like many, you may be looking for ways to split with your spouse without facing bankruptcy at the end of the process. Fortunately, there are ways to cut the cost of ending your marriage.
Your first step if you hope to lower the cost of your divorce is to make sure you have your finances in order. The more time you spend gathering and organizing your financial paperwork, the less time your attorney will spend on it. This saves you money. Before you meet with your lawyer, you may want to have the following information at hand:
- At least three years’ worth of tax returns
- Recent pay stubs for you and your spouse
- Statements from all your bank accounts
- Statements from credit cards
- Your most recent mortgage statement and car loan information
- Copies of property deeds, titles to assets and other valuable belongings
- Statements from your retirement accounts and investments
Sending this information to your attorney digitally may also reduce the cost since digital information is less expensive to process.
Your legal advocate
Perhaps the most common factor that increases the price tag on a divorce is deciding to go to trial. A litigated divorce can be quite costly, and the longer the divorce takes, the more expensive it can become. Spouses often find their issues becoming more antagonistic through litigation, and this can be detrimental both to their wallets and to their emotional well-being. Finding a less contentious method of divorce, such as mediation, can often reduce the stress as well as the cost of a divorce.
Choose your Texas attorney carefully. You will want a legal representative whose focus is on your best interests. Such an attorney will help you explore every option for your divorce, including alternative dispute resolution methods that may save you time, money and stress. In the long run, having quality legal representation from the beginning can often make a difference in the final outcome of your divorce. This includes providing a strong basis for a financially secure post-divorce life.