Divorce is often an uncomfortable, arduous, expensive process. Many people tend to avoid divorce proceedings for as long as possible to avoid the pain and stress. The cost of divorce can add up the longer it goes on with attorney bills, court fees and the separation of messy joint accounts. Taking some precautions before and during marriage as well as cooperating fully during the divorce proceedings can help to make your divorce less expensive.
Sign a Prenuptial Agreement
Commonly referred to as a “prenup,” a prenuptial agreement is a contract between two soon-to-be newlyweds. The prenup outlines all property and assets each party owns as well as who has the rights to each property if the marriage ends. Without a prenup, the state laws will determine what happens to your money and assets in the case of a divorce. Many people create prenup agreements to waive or limit spousal support in the event of divorce. Not only can prenups help you recover the assets that are rightfully yours, they can save you money in attorney fees by creating a smoother, quicker divorce process.
Keep Your Own Money Separate During Marriage
When you marry someone in California, some of your property remains separate from your spouse’s. Anything you owned prior to the marriage, including and gifts or inheritances you received during the marriage, remain yours. Additionally, any profits you acquire through the assets are solely yours. Keeping these assets in a separate account during marriage is the easiest way to ensure a quicker, cheaper divorce process. It will be easier to see which assets belong to you, reducing the need for costly attorney services and lengthy court sessions.
Exchange Information Voluntarily Instead of Through Formal Discovery
Certain information is required for divorce proceedings, including disclosure of assets, property and taxes. The process of formal discovery finds this information through costly, time-consuming processes such as interrogatories and depositions. These information recovery methods require the time of an attorney, which can quickly add up. If you are able, voluntarily offering your personal accounts and documents can speed up the process and save you money on attorney fees.
Understand the Role of Your Attorney
Talking to your spouse during the divorce process can be emotionally challenging, however, it can be less expensive than having your attorney discuss matters that you could easily handle yourself. Attorneys have a complete understanding of the law and are excellent resources, but it is not necessary for them to be your spokesperson every time you need to communicate with your spouse.
However, if it’s impossible to speak with your spouse without elongating the process, it might make sense to lean on your attorney for some communication.
Communicate with Your Attorney
Talking about your divorce can be hard, but clearly expressing your thoughts regarding the divorce proceedings with your attorney can help you make sure you are on the same page. Your attorneys cannot know if they are representing your best interests unless you take the time to discuss the details. Don’t fear judgement or criticism from the person who is there to protect you – being forthright will help you streamline the divorce process. As painful as it may be to talk about your divorce, it could save you a great deal in final costs. Plus, your attorney might have some valuable insight to share.
Although signing a prenuptial agreement is not exactly romantic, it is the best preventive measure to ensure a tidy and cost-effective divorce process. During the marriage, keep finances well organized in case asset division becomes necessary. Throughout the divorce process, keep lines of communication as open as possible and fully disclose all information to your attorney. Divorce is not usually easy, but you can try to make it quicker and less expensive.