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Managing the Expense of Your Divorce

There is an old joke about divorce, probably dating from the time of vaudeville comics, that goes something like this:

Rhetorical Question to the Audience: Why is divorce so expensive?

Answer to the Audience: Because it is worth it.

This is usually followed by wry chortles and knowing, sly grins from both genders in the crowd.

While the rhetorical question is somewhat crude, there is truism buried within; as a long term divorce practitioner, I will agree that divorce can be expensive. While it always costs more than the litigant likes, it doesn't have to cost more than it should.

I recently came across an article that has some great tips on managing your divorce litigation so as to bring down your costs:

Involve your divorce lawyer as little as possible with routine questions. Contact your lawyer only when you have to, and with a focused, clear goal in mind. If you intend to call, write your questions beforehand. Otherwise, send an email, as that will be a means by which you can review and refresh your recollection later, as new issues arise.

Don't spend based on emotional impulses. Some folks don't want their children to feel like they are missing out on the lifestyle they were used to. This sort of spending leads to long term debt problems and financial stress post-divorce.

Split the assets fairly . Some splitting spouses don't want to divide everything equitably or have differing views on what is fair. When they assume this sort of stance, it prolongs the conflict and escalates costs needlessly.

Consider selling the house early in the process. Generally, it is a money sink, and the need for living space will be different post divorce. Selling the house early eliminates a major headache.

Consider the tax ramifications on property division. Every aspect of property division on businesses and retirements will invoke a host of tax ramifications. Any division you make should include thought as to who is saddled with the tax from that individual item.

Know that there will never be a completely fair split. Always aim for fairness - but trying to achieve a perfect split is a fool's errand. Always be aware that there is a cost to attemtping to obtain everything that you believe yourself entitled to.