Why Is My Long Island Divorce So Expensive?
Divorces on Long Island are well-known for being expensive, but do you know why there’s this perception? Here’s a review of what can increase the cost of your divorce, how you can keep your expenses down, and why the most commonly recommended way to cut divorce costs could end up with you footing a larger bill in the long run.
Filing for Divorce? Beware of Sticker Shock
When you file for divorce and your attorney gives you an estimate of what you can expect to pay, you might be a little surprised at the figure. After seeing divorces advertised online and on television for just a few hundred dollars, many people are concerned at the thousands their lawyers are telling them they’ll need to pay. Sticker shock isn’t uncommon, but are you stuck forking over the money? Not necessarily.
What Makes a Divorce Expensive?
If you and your ex-spouse share property or have children together, your divorce is automatically going to be more expensive than an uncontested divorce between a couple with few assets and no children. This is because property division takes a lot of time, especially in high-net-worth cases. When children are involved, new matters like child custody and child support must be resolved in addition to all the other issues related to the divorce.
Another issue that can increase the cost of dissolving your marriage is if you and your ex-spouse don’t agree on various matters. The more contested your divorce becomes and the more problems you and your ex are unable to resolve, the more time your divorce will take both in and out of court. This can drive up the cost of your divorce exponentially, even into the tens of thousands of dollars or more.
5 Ways to Reduce the Cost of Your Long Island Divorce
There are many things you can do to reduce the cost of your divorce, including but not limited to:
#1. Organize Your Own Financial Records
Since divorce is primarily a financial transaction, your attorney will spend much of their time organizing your financial records. Do this yourself to save a chunk of money on your lawyer’s hourly fee and simply provide them with your reports and supporting documents.
#2. Get Things You Agree on Out of the Way
If you and your ex-spouse do agree on some matters related to your divorce, write them down and bring them to your attorney to include in your divorce decree. You can limit paying to work with legal professionals only for matters that you and your ex are unable to resolve.
#3. Avoid Making Emotional Decisions
When emotions are running high, it’s easy to make decisions that end up costing you more money. Carefully analyze the cost versus benefit of standing your ground or finding a compromise. Only continue to pursue those issues where the benefit of doing so outweighs the cost.
#4. Be Judicious with Your Attorney’s Time
The less time your attorney spends on your case, the less it will cost. That doesn’t mean you want your lawyer cutting corners though. Instead, find ways to accomplish what needs to be done in less time. Send an email instead of making a phone call and keep phone calls and meetings from going off-topic.
#5. Opt for Divorce Mediation or a Collaborative Divorce
Divorce mediation and collaborative divorce are both alternatives to litigation that can help you reduce the cost of your divorce. You’ll work with your legal team and your ex-spouse to negotiate a suitable outcome outside of court, and your attorney will submit the final agreement to a judge so it becomes legally binding.
Isn’t It Cheaper to File for Divorce Yourself Instead of Hiring a Divorce Lawyer or Family Law Attorney?
Many people believe that filing for divorce on their own, especially if their divorce is uncontested, will save them money. At first glance, this might seem true — after all, who can resist a $399 divorce sticker price? However, DIY divorces often end up costing a lot more in the long run when mistakes and complicated legal issues start cropping up. Even though hiring an experienced divorce attorney may be more expensive upfront, the long-term costs are often far less than a messy do-it-yourself divorce that you end up having to pay a lawyer to fix anyway. Protect your interests — and your pocketbook — by hiring an experienced divorce attorney from the start. Call our Long Island divorce and family law firm now at 631-923-1910 to learn more about cost-effective divorces or to book your free consultation.
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