In addition to being a very emotionally taxing experience, obtaining a divorce can have substantial financial consequences as well. The true financial cost of a divorce depends on a multitude of factors, the most important of which focus on whether the divorce is a contested or uncontested divorce.
In the simplest of terms an uncontested divorce means the parties have reached the realization that the marriage is over and that they need to make decisions regarding the care and custody of their children as well as the distribution of marital assets and debts. The most important aspect of an uncontested divorce is that the parties are in relative agreement as to how they want to address matters related to the care and custody of their children and the distribution of marital assets and debts.
A contested divorce is the complete opposite. Often times one of the parties is not willing to accept that the marriage is over, and when they do reach this realization, the parties are at a complete impasse as it relates to addressing matters related to the care and custody of their children and the distribution of marital assets and debts.
Depending on which category you find yourself in, or at a point somewhere in between, will have the biggest impact on what your divorce ultimately costs you in financial terms. A quick survey of available data suggests that a simple uncontested divorce can be accomplished for as little as $1,500 in legal fees, whereas a highly contested divorce dealing with issues related to child custody and the division of substantial assets can easily exceed $30,000 in legal fees.
So how can you keep your legal costs to a minimum? First, identify what category your divorce is likely to fall into, contested or uncontested. You may have the best of intentions of pursing an uncontested divorce; however, an unreasonable spouse may make this a virtual impossibility. However, to the extent you and your spouse are able to openly and honestly discuss the issues, it will allow you an opportunity to craft an agreement tailored to meet both of your expectations. As opposed to a long drawn out legal fight where the outcome remains uncertain.
In summary, you and your spouse’s ability to effectively communicate about the issue of divorce will likely be the determining factor in keeping legal fees to a minimum. It is important to note that each and every situation is unique, and the facts and circumstances of your particular situation will impact how your case progresses.