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3 ways to keep divorce costs down

Divorce is notorious for taking a big bite out of your finances. In addition to court and legal fees, finding a new place, running a household on one income and paying child support all add up. The good news is that you can cut some of the cost, starting with these three ways:

1. Have legal representation

A DIY divorce may sound cheaper than using attorneys, but only rarely. State laws and court procedures are complex and confusing, and any mistakes you make will add time and expense to your divorce. Have legal representation from the start to ensure you complete the process correctly.

Even if you use an alternative method, such as mediation, you still need an attorney to review your agreement to ensure thoroughness and validity. With that said, you do not have to rely on your lawyer for everything. Do as much research as possible to be better-prepared to cut down on billable hours.

2. Be cooperative

The more contentious your divorce, the more expensive it will be. Your pain is real, and you should address it with a therapist to avoid letting feelings of anger, sadness or revenge influence your actions. It is best to put your children's well-being first, even if it means giving up the outcome you hope for. Be willing to compromise, to be flexible and to be honest. See if you two can agree on some things on your own.

However, being cooperative does not mean you should forego sticking up for your rights as a parent and spouse. It just means you prioritize your battles and manage conflict maturely to prevent unnecessary stress for yourself and your kids.

3. Separate your finances

As soon as you know you are going to split, begin separating your finances. This can entail setting up your own bank account and credit card, freezing joint accounts or removing names from accounts. Be careful with spending and saving, as assets and debts are still marital by law until your divorce is over.

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