Divorce Can Be Expensive
Here’s how to save money
- Keep your divorce simple.
- Only hire and work with the most trusted and credible divorce professionals.
- Set realistic expectations.
- Do not waste one more minute or dime than you absolutely have to.
Only Hire Those That You Need
Everywhere I turn it seems another professional is attempting to:
- Represent you during your divorce;
- Represent your kids during your divorce;
- Counsel you through your divorce;
- Counsel your kids through divorce;
- Investigate what you should do with your kids after divorce and who should counsel them;
- Coach you through your divorce
- Financially advise you through and after your divorce
- Fill out forms for you to get divorced
- Sell your house after the divorce
- Refinance your house so you can afford the divorce;
- Mediate; or
- by this point regurgitate!
You Need a Counselor or Therapist
Do not consider divorce until you are emotionally prepared to leave your marriage. The attorney’s door should be the last door you enter – not the first! Do not confuse divorce coaching with divorce counseling. Counselors have specialized training, and so many client hours before practicing on their own. Some counselors advertise as having a focused practice for those suffering through divorce. This is much different than the professional who has paid for a coaching clinic, went through their own divorce and blogs a bit about how terrible it is.
Sam called our Cherry Creek office. His wife had been cheating for months. She promised to stop the affair and recommit to the marriage and pursue counseling. I asked about the counseling they were doing. Clearly not the right counselor for them. “Sam. You don’t need a divorce! You still love her!” I gave him the number of one of my favorite counselors for men, Mike Brooks. I told him to first spend 3 months with Mike and then call me back if he really wanted to get divorced. Six months later he called and although still difficult, the divorce was much easier because of the emotional healing he worked through with Mike.
Joanna called our Steamboat office after hearing about my work as a family attorney. I met with the couple, explained the difference between mediation and hiring a family attorney. We walked through financial statements and discussed how to work together through their divorce. After the initial status conference, she called to let me know that they decided to get into marriage counseling. They started working with Suzanne Forrester in Boulder. Within 2 months, Joanna called me and asked that I file the papers to withdraw the dissolution of marriage action.
Take the time to research the professional counselors you decide to pay and spend time with during divorce. You want to know how they think they can help you, what they think will be the issues you need to focus on during the divorce, and how to get through it in the most time efficient and cost effective way possible.
You Need A Lawer
The most important professional to talk to is a licensed attorney who practices in the county where your divorce will occur.
There are estimates that more than 70% of couples are attempting to divorce without any legal advice. No one quite knows how many of those couples end up with significantly terrible contracts that they then have to pay far more to try and change with the help of lawyers.
Hiring an attorney does not have to be a $10,000.00 expense either. People fail to hire lawyers for the right reasons. They hire lawyers out of fear of losing too much, not getting enough, or wanting to avoid the process of divorce and leave it to someone else.
Unbundled Services Can Limit The Scope of Your Lawyers Work
There are lawyers that unbundled services and work as a legal adviser and negotiator instead of litigating your case in court. When divorce attorneys work in this way, they don’t represent you in court but instead meet with you, discuss and advise you regarding your options, your legal rights, and risks as you negotiate your resolution and divorce settlement. At the same time, if you would have to go to court because you were unable to resolve matters, you may pay for the attorney to enter as your attorney of record and pursue the matter in court if necessary.
Many clients hire us to help them prepare their financial disclosures, draft the contracts, and prepare the asset-debt worksheets to help guide you through various options for settlement.
Doug was better prepared for mediation
Doug hired us in Denver to prepare documents and advise him on possible solutions before going to mediation with just his wife and without attorneys. He felt prepared. His wife was not intimidated by his having an attorney. He didn’t have to worry about not knowing his legal rights while negotiating the settlement in mediation.
Liza called our Castle Rock office. She and her soon to be X had one kid together. They knew all their financial information and how they were going to co-parent. They just needed help making sure all the documents were drafted properly and that what they wanted to negotiate was legally sound. We were able to advise on some creative ways to negotiate the refinancing of the home. She was so happy and paid less than $2500 to have everything done properly.
Rich came into our Thornton office. He thought for sure his was going to be such an amicable process and just needed us to draft documents. After a 30 year marriage, both parties able to retire, wife thought she was owed maintenance for the next 10 years – until Rich was 70. She hired a separate attorney. Rich decided that a limited role would not be good. He immediately paid a retainer for the firm to enter our appearance and represent him. Once the attorneys were able to share the numbers and negotiate property settlement, Wife knew she would have enough assets and funds to not need additional income from Rich after they were divorced.
Divorce has Financial Consequences
- Sure you want to keep the house. Can you afford it?
- Should you negotiate trading equity in the house for the retirement account?
- How much do you need to earn each month to be ok?
Especially now, with maintenance laws changing, the rise and fall of property values, and the expense of creating 2 households and families from one, you must talk to a financial adviser.
Sure, your lawyer can run the worksheets, explain maintenance and talk about tax credits and deductions, but do not trust your lawyer to financially advise you. Great lawyers usually have reliable resources for you.
Sandra was referred to us through Women of Denver. After 20 years of marriage, they were through. He wanted to manage his investments and stay close to business and friends. She wanted to travel the world. With a substantial marital estate and monthly income produced from their investments, they first met together with their financial planners. It was actually their financial planner who helped her choose us to represent her in the divorce. Because of their trust in their advisor, and agreement to many practical matters, filing for their divorce was logistically simple.
All the divorce papers were filed, including the separation agreement and parenting plans weeks before the Court could enter the decree. Thanks to their financial advisers there was very little to argue about legally and Sandra and her husband were able to move forward separately not spending more money or time on the divorce than absolutely necessary.
By beginning your divorce from an emotionally stable place, getting the best legal advice and working with a financial adviser to better understand how to restructure your family successfully you too can avoid the financial racket of divorce.