Divorce: how long will it take and how much will it cost?

On behalf of The Marks Law Firm, L.L.C. posted in Divorce on Thursday, June 23, 2011

For good reasons, two of the most frequently posed questions to family law attorneys are: “how much will a divorce cost?” and “how long will it take to be divorced?”

Attorney Alyssa Ann Rower writes for the Huffington Post; in a recent column, she addressed those two issues. She writes that while “there are no definite answers” to those important, universal questions, it’s a good news/bad news situation.

The good news is that you can help control how long the divorce process takes and how much it costs.

The bad news? Some elements of cost and time are simply out of your control.

She broke down her analysis of time and cost factors along these lines:

Homework: if you want to keep divorce costs down, you will likely be asked to be an active participant in the process. You will be asked by your attorney to be a fact-finder, collecting financial information, figuring out your living expenses and assembling a history of child custody-related incidents.

Non-legal fees: for some divorcing parties, the lawyer becomes much more than a legal guide helping you navigate divorce. The attorney will sometimes be asked to help with financial planning, serve as a therapist and personal assistant. While all of those services might be tempting to indulge in for someone facing divorce, Rower urges people to avoid the temptation.

Lawyers charge for their time and Rower says you’re better off spending time talking over your emotions and investment strategies with a licensed therapist and financial planner than your attorney. Focus on the legal aspects of your divorce with your attorney.

Don’t escalate: if things go badly between you and your spouse in the process of divorce (it’s probably not difficult to imagine many divorcing people have trouble communicating or agreeing in the process of their divorce), don’t stoop to the level of your former spouse. Be realistic and clear about your needs, but don’t resort to one-upmanship that so often winds up costing people more as they try to find legal weapons with which to punish their former partner.

Source: Huffington Post: “What You Can and Can’t Control in the Divorce Process” by Alyssa Ann Rower: June 22, 2011

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