Monday, November 12, 2012

Saving Money When Getting a Divorce

Today we have a guest post from Chantelle Thompson:

The divorce process can become one of the most stressful and frustrating periods in a person’s life. Not only are there strong emotions to deal with, you’ll need to sort out legal and financial arrangements with your former partner as well. Keep the costs of your divorce to a minimum by trying to resolve things in an amicable and timely fashion.

1) Handle it yourself.

There’s no better way to save money on your divorce than by handling the proceedings yourself. To avoid expensive court battles, you and your spouse will have to agree on the reason for the divorce, child care arrangements for any children under the age of 16 or those still attending a professional programme, and how you will divide any property or possessions you own together. If you can both agree on these matters, you will only need to pay the fees for filing the divorce petition form (£340) and the decree absolute (£45). Citizen’s Advice and Direct.gov.uk both provide free information and divorce advice to help you get started with the process.

2) Get organised.

If your relationship is not amicable enough to handle the divorce yourself, you’ll need to enlist the help of professionals to move the process along. Keep in mind that the more paperwork involved, the more billable hours your mediator or solicitor will have, which in turn can drastically increase your divorce costs. Help speed up the process by being organised: provide them with detailed and structured financial records, offer to help fill out court paperwork, and answer questions in a timely manner. Further reduce your billable hours by keeping a list of topics you want to address with your mediator or solicitor at your next meeting, rather than picking up the phone or firing off an e-mail every time you have a question or concern.

3) Enlist the right help.

Small mistakes add up. Enlisting the help of an experienced legal professional is a critical component if your case is headed for the courtrooms, so before you hire a solicitor, make sure the firm has a proven track history in divorce law. An experienced solicitor will understand the ins and outs of the divorce process and help you file for and finalise a quick divorce. Some solicitors even offer fixed-fee divorce packages so that you know the up-front costs for their expertise and services.

4) Be firm but flexible.

It’s easy to let your emotions take over when you’re going through a divorce, but being completely inflexible will only draw out the divorce process—and increase your legal fees! Make reasonable demands but be willing to consider proposals from the other side as well. Meeting halfway will help you resolve matters more quickly and get you out of the courtrooms.

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