Save big bucks by keeping it civil
There are entire sections of bookstores devoted to weddings on a budget. The advice ranges from baking your own cake to borrowing a dress. Everybody knows that modern American weddings are not cheap. “Couples that live in Milford, MI Zip Code 48381 spend between $23,045 and $38,408 on average for their wedding,” according to Cost of Wedding website. That said, not everyone has that kind of money for a ceremony and reception so brides and grooms are getting creative about making it happen with limited funds. It only stands to reason then, that many of those same couples might someday find themselves seeking low cost divorce on a budget too.
Divorce is not cheap
The Forbes Magazine article, “To Have And To Hold On To,” details the costs of a typical divorce, “Estimates on the average cost of a divorce in the U.S. range from $15,000 to $30,000.” There are court costs, filing fees and (almost always) attorneys’ fees.
This is just an accounting of the actual costs of the legal process of divorcing. Couples considering a split also need to budget for the potential additional expenses of maintaining two homes with all the furniture, childcare, insurance, cable bills and occasionally broken lawn mowers that go along with it. But that’s the cost of being divorced.
When it comes to divorcing, there is an enormous range of options that come with different price tags including Do-It-Yourself; Collaborative Divorce; Legal Separation; Mediation; and Litigated Divorce. The biggest expenses of any of these legal proceedings are attorneys’ fees and court costs. The key to keeping those costs down and getting a low-cost divorce is amicability.
“Keeping divorce civilized is often easier said than done,” said experienced New Hudson Divorce Attorney Kathryn Wayne-Spindler, “but when a couple has limited funds, it can be a huge motivating factor.”
She strongly recommends couples try counseling before filing for divorce. It might be money well spent. For one, couples’ therapy may be covered by some health insurance policies. Additionally, it might help spouses recognize underlying mental health issues that can be aggravated during a divorce. It also helps couples identify their priorities. Although couples might see therapy as a luxury, it can save attorneys’ fees in the long run.
“Even if counseling doesn’t save the marriage, it may give the couple tools to resolve problems and work through emotions of betrayal and vengefulness,” said Wayne-Spindler. These emotions sometimes subconsciously translate into unnecessary litigation.
“Highly-contentious divorces are rarely about the teapot. More likely, they’re an effort to get back at disappointing spouses by going after whatever is meaningful to them,” she said.
“Separating the emotional breakup from the legal breakup can save big money in the long run.”
The last piece of advice from Wayne-Spindler, who has been helping people dissolve their marriages for more than 20 years, “Don’t be blind to the long-term financial impacts of a sloppy divorce agreement.” As the saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” And that is certainly true for low-cost divorce. However tempting it might seem to go with the cheapest DIY option, an experienced attorney should at least review the paperwork or there could be losses out down the road.
DIY may not be the answer to low-cost divorce
“For two hours of my time, you could save thousands in home equity, spousal support, and retirement savings in the future,” says Wayne-Spindler.
Wayne-Spindler understands that getting divorced can be expensive and works with clients to give them the best value. For a FREE, yes free, consultation, contact the Milford, Michigan law office of Kathryn Wayne-Spindler & Associates at 248-676-1000. Wayne-Spindler regularly reviews clients’ divorce paperwork. She can also help couples keep their attorneys’ fees down by offering mediation or collaborative divorce options. She assists clients with low-cost divorce, child custody, division of assets, alimony, and divorced estate planning. The firm handles cases throughout Southeastern Michigan include the five counties of Oakland, Washtenaw, Wayne, Genesee and Livingston. The experienced attorneys of Kathryn Wayne-Spindler & Associates work with clients in Milford, Highland, Hartland, Commerce, Walled Lake, Waterford, Wixom, Howell, White Lake, New Hudson, Linden, South Lyon, Grand Blanc, Holly and many more local communities.
Written and Posted by Christine Donlon Long
Communications’ Specialist for Kathryn Wayne-Spindler & Associates