When I’m asked the question “How much does divorce cost?” I’m reminded of that old joke: Marriage is grand, but Divorce is $100,000…because it’s worth it!
When answering that question seriously I tell people “it depends”. Setting aside the cost of taking the marital assets and dividing them “equitably” which does not necessarily mean dividing them in half or equally. There is the added cost of legal fees and court costs. Even if you don’t hire an attorney, someone has to pay the court filing fees.
So how much will it cost in legal fees? Again, I tell people “it depends”. If the parties agree and just need lawyers to draft the agreement and other required documents, then it will cost the least amount of money. But, depending upon how intricate and detailed the agreement, the drafting of the agreement could be thousands of dollars. Especially if attorneys for both parties are working to make sure that all of the provisions and terms are properly and clearly drafted. This takes time and it costs money.
Usually the majority of legal fees are spent in gathering the necessary information and documents needed to determine the facts in a case. You may know all of the facts in your case. But do you have documents or evidence? If you don’t, then how are you going to convince the other party, their attorney or a judge?
Documents need to be requested, gathered and analyzed in order to determine the facts. This is the discovery phase. Sometimes the facts are easy to determine. If the parties are W-2 wage earners, then it is easy to determine their incomes. If the parties have a business together or if one or both have their own business, then determining their incomes is not straight forward. And a person’s income for tax purposes is not the same as a person’s income for child support and alimony purposes.
If you are organized and efficient in providing your attorney documents that are requested, you will save money. If your attorney or the attorney for your spouse has to continually ask you to produce documents, you will waste money. Some people spend their entire retainer just trying to gather needed and requested documents.
Once all of the information and/or documentation is gathered and verified, then settlement discussions begin. This is when your attorney can give you a framework as to what is likely to happen regarding your children and your finances. And, a strategy will be discussed and solidified as to what the next best steps should be in order to reach a resolution.
The most cost-effective way to get a divorce is through the Collaborative Process. This process allows couples to use mediation and negotiations to settle their divorce.
The least expensive way to get a divorce is to communicate with your spouse and reach an agreement. This only works if you have all the needed financial and legal information to make informed decisions.
Understand the most expensive way to get a divorce is to litigate in Court. In general, for every hour an attorney is in Court, there is at least 3 hours of preparation. However, you then lose control over the outcome and are dependent upon the Judge’s ruling.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE DIVORCE PROCESS GO TO OUR WEBSITE @ www.EatonFamilyLawFirm.com
We have 2 locations to serve you:
Tennessee Office: 4000 Hillsboro Pike, Unit 715, Nashville, TN 37215 Phone number is: (615) 994-0123
Florida Office: 2247 Palm Beach Lakes Blvd., Suite 202, West Palm Beach, FL 33409. Phone number is: (561) 420-8500