March 5, 2014

Saving Money During Your Divorce

One of the first things you need to be aware of, before entering into a divorce, is that it can be an extremely expensive process. The financial impact of divorce proceedings can add a significant amount of stress to an already tough situation, but while it may seem like these stressors are beyond your control, there are several things you can do to save money during your divorce.

1. Do Not Use Your Divorce Lawyer to Communicate With Your Ex

You have hired your attorney to help you navigate the legal aspects of your divorce, and to ensure that your needs are addressed during the proceedings. Your family lawyer is there to make sure that you do not say anything you might regret, and may even help you to keep your composure while negotiating the terms of your divorce. If you find yourself using your attorney as a conduit for communication that is unrelated to the legal aspects of your divorce, you need to take a step back. Having your lawyer contact your spouse to discuss who is picking up the kids from soccer will be significantly more expensive than calling them yourself.

2. Voluntarily Disclose Any Information That Relates to Your Finances

By voluntarily providing documentation of your assets, income, and debts you avoid having to pay for a formal discovery. Formal discoveries involve paying your attorney to draft written requests for documents, and prepare questions that your spouse will have to answer with the help of his or her attorney. Once the questions and requests have been answered, your lawyer will have to review the responses –a process which will further add to your legal fees.

Information that you should voluntarily provide includes: the balance of your mortgage, car loans, lines of credit, and retirement accounts. If you cannot agree on the value of your home, look at the tax appraised value, have it appraised, or speak with a real estate agent. You can further cut costs by sharing the asset-appraisal cost and information with your spouse.

3.Do Not Request Information That You Know, Or Can Access Yourself

Wading through financial statements is a horrendously daunting task –on a good day; but when you have to do it under the context of a divorce, it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture. Remember: the amount of money your spend on your attorney will take away from the amount of money you can keep for yourself. If all of your financial accounts were jointly titled, do not ask your lawyer to request documents from your spouse if you can retrieve them yourself.

If You Don’t Care About It, Let It Go

Emotions often play a significant role in divorce negotiations, and not usually in a productive way. Couples going through a divorce can spend thousands of dollars fighting over property that neither really wants. When it comes to dividing possessions, keep in mind the value of the property in question. If the only reason you are fighting to keep that $200 coffee table is because your spouse wants it, let it go. The satisfaction of taking that table away from them is probably not worth the $600 in lawyers fees required to do so.

5. Stay informed about what your attorney is doing, and why he or she is doing it

A dedicated divorce lawyer should keep you informed of all proceedings throughout your divorce –after all, you did hire them to represent your best interests. It is not uncommon for a person to avoid their attorney because they do not want to discuss the painful process of divorce. However, the tendency to avoid talking about your divorce can lead to financial surprises that are even more painful. Maintaining communication with your lawyer will help to ensure that your needs, and wants are realistic, and clearly understood. Your attorney can also provide you with less expensive options for proceeding with your divorce.

Family lawyers, in Edmonton, can help you take control of your divorce

Filing for divorce can be an emotionally draining, and confusing experience. Navigating the legal system, sorting through financial documents, negotiating living arrangements and re-building your life is not an easy task. The Edmonton family lawyers at McGlashan & Mackinnon are committed to helping you through your divorce proceedings with care and compassion. Our lawyers will provide you with the comprehensive advice, and supportive legal counsel you need to help you through the divorce process, and get you started on the next chapter of your life.