Not only can the end of a marriage be difficult emotionally, but if you are not careful, the process of divorce can also take a toll on your wallet. What can you do to keep divorce costs to a minimum? Here are three budget-friendly strategies to help you reach a settlement without breaking the bank.
Just Say No to Divorce Court: Generally speaking, going to court to argue your divorce before a judge should be a last resort for spouses concerned about keeping expenses to a minimum. Simply put, litigating in court costs time and money … and usually quite a bit of both. Is your divorce uncontested? Luckily, in New Jersey, an uncontested divorce settlement can be settled out of court through alternative methods including mediation. In mediation, couples meet with a neutral third party mediator to negotiate and make their own decisions about their divorce settlement. When mediation works, the process often ends up being much faster and cheaper than divorce court.
Consider What’s Worth Fighting Over: Before negotiations over marital asset division turn into drawn out battles, carefully consider what’s worth fighting over. If you do a cost/benefit analysis, is it fighting over a $500 couch really worth it? To avoid prolonging the process, and consequently sending precious time and money down the drain, try to keep your emotions in check as you consider certain assets and their worth. Can you easily buy a new couch? Yes. In fact, not fighting over the small stuff may put you in a more powerful position when it’s time to state your demands for what really matters. (See our blog, “7 Steps to Successful Divorce Negotiations” for more.)
Keep Child Custody in Perspective: Child custody is often the most contentious issue spouses with children must decide in divorce. To possibly avoid the time (and therefore money) involved in child custody fights, first take a deep breath and then look at the matter from your child’s perspective. What’s truly in your child’s best interests? You may not want to share custody with your child with your soon-to-be ex because your feeling are still too raw right now. However, even if you don’t want to ever see this person again for as long as you live, do you think your child feels the same way? There are, of course, exceptions, but in most families, it is in the best interest of the child to spend time with both parents. Keep this in mind before making a demands based on your own hurt feelings.
What worked for you to save money in your divorce? Let us know in the comments!