Coming to the decision to file for divorce is never easy, but at times it is unavoidable. As CPAs and financial professionals, we thought we would shed some light on what the cost might look like so you can begin to plan for a better, more secure financial future.
In this blog, we will cover some of the initial cost considerations, and briefly touch on what to expect financially after the divorce.
The national average cost of divorce in the United States is roughly $15,000 per person.
This includes some of the following: attorney fees, court fees, tax professionals, a child custody evaluator and a real estate appraiser.
Ways to save money?
There are several ways to save financially in a divorce, but not all of these ideas are best for your situation. Consider the following:
Drafting DIY divorce papers
If you and your spouse are able to settle all of the major issues such as child custody, spousal support, how debt and assets will be divided, you can likely file an uncontested divorce. DIY divorce papers can even be drafted online that can guide you through this.
For some more information regarding drafting your own divorce papers, check out this resource: https://www.legalzoom.com/articles/diy-divorce-papers
Don’t hire an attorney (not recommended)
If you are filing an uncontested divorce, technically you have the option of going through the process without an attorney which can save you potentially thousands of dollars in attorney's fees.
While this can save you money on the front end, it isn’t recommended. Attorneys know how to protect your best interests and can uncover assets, savings accounts, or anything else that your spouse might be trying to hide in the divorce. In other words, the value an attorney brings and the amount they can potentially save you in the long run, more than likely outweighs their fees.
Attorney’s work on an hourly rate. Being organized, know what questions to ask, do your research ahead of any meeting with your attorney so the process is quick and efficient, thus lowering your legal costs.
Talk to the paralegal when possible
There will be plenty of questions you might have throughout the process that might not be actual legal advice. Paralegals should be able to handle the bulk of the questions and can always refer you to the attorney if they can’t answer. Paralegals’ time are much less expensive than the attorney’s.
Hire a CPA
As tax professionals we’ve seen firsthand the amount of money clients save longterm when tax strategies are put into place before any major life event.
Hire a Financial Advisor
As you prepare for life after divorce, please consider sitting down with a financial advisor as well. Your lawyer can guide you through the legal aspects of the divorce. Your CPA can guide you through the tax implications and financial considerations. But the financial advisor, particularly one who holds the CFP® designation, can be crucial in helping you set up a game plan for life after divorce, and help set yourself up for success financially.
We hope we’ve given you a few things to think about as you prepare for the difficult decision of getting a divorce. Please know, none of this can be considered legal advice. We highly recommend consulting with an attorney before filing for divorce. As always, please reach out if you need any help or have any questions. We are here for you!