March 7, 2013

Questions to ask before you divorce

If you are just initiating a divorce from your spouse, you probably have a lot of questions. Today, we are going to give you answers to some fundamental divorce questions so you can be prepared before your consultation.

First, you probably want to know how much a divorce will cost. Simple divorces can cost just $2,500, but it is possible to spend more than $40,000 on attorneys’ fees and court costs, and that’s before you even start dividing up your property. Experts say you can cut costs by choosing alternative divorce methods such as mediation and collaborative divorce, but much of that decision depends on your spouse. Inquire about your attorney’s fees before you agree to retain the firm.

Not only is the cost of divorce sometimes uncertain, but you might want to know how long the divorce will take. Optimistic estimates put the process at about 60 days, but your case could take longer than a year to resolve. Again, much of this depends on the type of divorce you choose. A contentious divorce is likely to take longer because the detail of the divorce decree will be contested. Remember that the extra time is probably worth it in the long run, as it is difficult to change your divorce decree after it has been approved by the courts.

Even if you think your divorce is simple – you do not have any children, and both of you only possess minimal assets – you still need an attorney. DIY divorces have been coming more popular, but it’s important to remember that a poorly crafted divorce decree could have an impact on all other parts of your life. Fixing an erroneous decree could end up costing you more than the divorce itself, making you wish you had consulted an attorney.

As you enter the divorce process, make sure to take the time to make choices that work best for you. Marriage, as they say, may be fleeting, but divorce is forever; a bad decree can put a black spot on many future ventures.

Source: Huffington Post, “Top five questions asked about divorce,” Natalie Gregg, Feb. 21, 2013.