A recent survey by Avvo.com revealed that for those seeking information on divorce, one of the primary concerns was: How much is this going to cost me?
Of those survey respondents without children, nearly 60 percent said that the cost of the proceedings was the No. 1 concern they had for the divorce process. Division of property ranked No. 2. Respondents with children cited their No. 1 concern as child custody, with the cost of the divorce ranking at No. 2.
Our Mesa divorce attorneys recognize cost as a legitimate concern. Some estimates put the national average cost of divorce at around $15,000.
Of course, the cost of a poorly executed divorce may be incalculable. Fortunately, there is a lot you can do in preparation for the filing that might help to reduce your costs.
There is a wealth of information online regarding “do-it-yourself” divorces. These sites can make it sound a lot simpler than it is. Nothing will replace the help and advise of an experienced Arizona divorce attorney. This is an emotionally wrenching time, and there are a lot of practical concerns to consider. These issues are even more complex if you have children, have been married a long time or have amassed a fair amount of property or other assets during the course of your union.
A lot of people think that if they can agree on the basics, they don’t need to worry about involving attorneys. We understand the reluctance to enter litigation. But consider what you may not have considered: Division of retirement accounts, tax implications, division of debt, potential concealment of debt, and health care considerations. What if one parent decides to move out of state with the children? Failure to address any or all of these elements can end up costing you dearly in the long run.
You might save a few bucks on the divorce lawyer now. However, an unfair tax burden could mean you lose out on thousands of dollars. And once a divorce agreement is finalized, it may be an arduous – and expensive – process to go back and change it.
So what does all this mean for you?
When you begin contemplating divorce, start setting some money aside. You don’t have to tell anyone. (In fact, you should probably refrain from telling your spouse.) Just quietly begin putting a little away here and there. If you never have to use it, that’s great. But if the time comes and you need to get out, you will be much better prepared.
Along these same lines, work on establishing good credit in your own name. It can be very tough for someone who is newly single with no recent work history and no real credit to strike out on his or her own. If this sounds like your situation, make this a priority. Credit bureau Experian has some good advice about how to do this responsibly.
And finally, you’ll want to put some time into researching law firms and attorneys to find a divorce lawyer who is going to be the best fit for you. One of the advantages of working with Rowley Chapman & Barney is that we have experience not only in the areas of divorce and family law, but also in bankruptcy, estate planning, real estate and civil litigation. Because divorce has the potential to affect every aspect of your life, having the backing of a firm with that kind of knowledge and experience can be a true asset.