At dinner the other night, I overheard a conversation between two gentlemen, comparing the divorce process each went through. One man said he and his wife are going to amicably divide everything, and do not need legal counsel. The other man agreed that was the way to go, mentioning that he and his wife spent over $15,000 in legal fees when he divorced a few years earlier.
Divorces are an ugly, and unfortunate, aspect of life. The end of a family can create many misfortunes for the spouses, their children and extended families. Spending money on top of that can make the situation feel worse. Sure, it would have been more fun to take an island vacation or buy a new home entertainment center than to pay legal fees associated with a divorce.
However, most divorces do not need to be expensive. Most couples who generally agree on how assets should be divided will have no problem obtaining a low-cost divorce. It is very difficult to remove emotion from these conversations, which is why some negotiations take longer and cost more. Even if major assets are divided equitably, other considerations may include alimony, investments and retirement accounts. Child support and college tuition may come into play should a divorced couple have children.
One consideration may be for a couple to hire an attorney as a consultant for how to divide assets. This may keep the couple out of the courtroom and lower their total costs. While it may not be viewed as “good news,” hopefully it presents some lower-cost options that can offer sound legal advice to those in need.