Divorces and separations can be very expensive. During a separation, families may face new expenses for custody and access visits, outfitting a new apartment with furniture. Now add to that legal fees and court costs and it can be a very challenging time financially. Thankfully, there are some things you can do to reduce you expenses.
1. Settle, settle, and settle
Without question, the most effective way to save money is to come to an agreement with your ex spouse without going to trial. There are some situations where a trial is necessary because the parties are unable to communicate effectively with each other. But even in high conflict cases, people find a way to reach an acceptable agreement through negotiations or even with the help of a mediator. Collaborative family lawyers focus on settlements and can also help people find solutions to their most difficult and complex problems without a trial.
Going to court to have a judge decide your fate is very expensive. The legal fees add up fast when your lawyer is preparing for trial. Try to settle as many matters as you can ahead of time so even if you do have to go to trial, it will be less complicated and expensive. When settling, try to consider ongoing costs of things like custody visits. Is it possible to have both parents live in the same area, or at least in the same town to keep the costs related to custody visits down?
2. Think about tax
As you are dividing property and making financial plans for the future, think about how a settlement may affect your tax situation. For example, spousal support is generally considered taxable income while child support payments are not.
During divorce, parties can be very creative in setting up an arrangement that works. Keep in mind that the court will have to sign off on an agreement to make sure any children are being properly provided for by an agreement. It may also be a good idea to get advice from a tax professional concerning your unique situation.
3. Hire the right lawyer at the right time
Although it may seem counter intuitive, do not delay in hiring a lawyer and do not just hire the cheapest one you find. Look online, and ask your friends and family for recommendations.
Don’t just look for a lawyer who will tell you what you want to hear, look for a lawyer that will listen to you and help you reach the goals that important to you. People often wait until things have gotten really bad with their ex before seeing a lawyer, this can end up creating headaches and costing you extra money. Finding a lawyer who you can work well with can make for more efficient meetings, and lead to a more satisfying resolution.
4. Be prepared to downsize
Divorce comes with a lot of big changes, and you need to give some serious thought to how they will affect your daily life. How will you deal with your housing, transportation and social aspects of your life? What will happen to your house, will one of you need to get a new car or can you ride the bus or walk to work? Is it possible for you both to live close to each other to make it easier for your children to go back and forth?
Even though there can be a lot of pain associated with all this change, it is possible to seize this opportunity to restructure your life and come out stronger on the other side.
5. Try not to act on raw emotion
When tempers flare, it is easy to say things you regret, or worse yet, send them in a text or email message that may end up in front of a judge! Instead of lashing out at your ex, talk with a counsellor, or good friends and family who you will let you vent. If you add fuel to the emotional fire, it makes reaching a settlement and avoiding a trial more of a challenge.
Do you have a question about family law, or another legal issue you want resolved? Contact the team at Highlander Law Group at (902) 826-3070 or Schedule an Issue Review Consult to explore your options at our no commitment flat fee ($100+tax) consultation.
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