When people get divorced, all human traits come out because you need to negotiate with your spouse about everything from a parenting plan to financial issues related to property division. During such an emotional and challenging time, there isn’t a single person who doesn’t question how to save money on their divorce.
This article contains practical and helpful tips on how to save money during the dissolution of marriage. Find out if you can get a divorce over the internet and without an attorney.
Top Tips and Tricks to Save Time and Money During a Divorce
1. Research the Divorce Process for Your State
You can reduce the costs related to divorce lawyers by reviewing your state’s legal process. For example, if you live in Tennessee, you can visit the Tennessee courts’ websites or online divorce companies one of whom is tennesseeonlinedivorce.com, and get detailed information on how to file for divorce. Having a basic understanding of divorce proceedings will allow you to focus on more important issues when consulting with a lawyer.
Lawyers bill by the hour, so knowing how to use Google and find answers to questions can save you a ton of money.
2. Organize Your Financial Statements
A lawyer spends most of their time organizing the client’s case and understanding their financial situation. If you can do it yourself, you’ll significantly lower the amount of money spent on legal assistance. Collect and organize all of your bank and financial statements in advance. You’ll need three years of tax returns, payroll receipts, credit card statements, bank statements, mortgage statements, auto loans, retirement information, and investment account statements.
It is best if you receive and submit these documents to your lawyer electronically. Processing paper documents are more expensive.
Divorce is directly related to your finances, so the more you can do on your own, the more you save.
3. Choose the Best Filing for Divorce Option
Before getting a divorce, you first need to fill out divorce papers. Templates may vary depending on the state.
To file for divorce in Tennessee, you should complete the required forms. You can get them at your local court or from the Tennessee court website. After, you and your spouse should sign the papers. Divorce proceedings begin in Tennessee when the petitioner files a Divorce Complaint. In this case, the second spouse is called the respondent.
So what is the difference between filing paperwork in a local court or using an online divorce service? And how can this help reduce the costs of divorce?
Apply for divorce requires visiting your local court in any case. Application for divorce online helps you simplify the process of filling out the documents and making subsequent changes if necessary. So, if the court requires additional information, or it turned out that you made a mistake when filling papers out, then the online service will not charge additional fees for editing.
Also, the waiting period for complete divorce online is shortened. You can get your documents prepared in around two business days, compared to weeks, by going through an attorney or doing it yourself.
4. Make Your Divorce Process Easier
The best way to keep your divorce costs down is to avoid going to court and use web divorce services.
Uncontested divorces are relatively affordable and quick as both spouses have already reached an agreement on all divorce matters. It means fewer court visits, legal costs, and filing fees compared to a traditional divorce.
Requirements for an uncontested divorce in Tennessee:
- at least one spouse has lived in Tennessee for at least six months;
- the spouses do not have minor children, children over 18 who are still in school, or children with disabilities;
- the wife is not currently pregnant;
- the spouses mutually want to dissolve the marriage;
- the couple does not own land, businesses, buildings, or have retirement benefits together.
- the spouses agreed in advance on the property division, spousal support, alimony, child custody;
If a married couple can’t agree on all of the divorce issues, they don’t meet the criteria to be eligible for an uncontested divorce in Tennessee.
5. Choose the Right Grounds for Divorce
Reasons for divorce affect the length of the divorce proceedings. And this entails additional costs.
When choosing grounds for divorce, the first thing to consider is that they come in two types: fault-based or no-fault. As in the contested divorce, the fault-based divorce will require additional investigation and searching for solid evidence of the spouse’s guilt.
A no-fault divorce requires no additional court visits, so it only takes around 2-6 months to be finalized.
As per the Tennessee law, the reasons for no-fault divorce include:
- irreconcilable differences due to which the spouses live apart for at least six months and agree to end the marriage
- the parties have been living separately for at least 18 months, and there is no prospect of reconciliation
6. Work with associates and paralegals when possible
You can significantly reduce attorney fees by hiring paralegals. Paralegals charge less for their services and are usually well versed in the basics of divorce law. Law firms often have several associates besides licensed attorneys. By entrusting them with less complicated but necessary work, you will reduce the final bill for legal services.
It’s worth noting that the location of your lawyer also affects your divorce costs. Lawyers often bill for travel time. Therefore, by choosing a lawyer near the courthouse, you can save on legal expenses.
7. Use Email Instead of a Phone
Time is money, and many lawyers share this meaning. Email can save time and money if you write clearly and concisely. If you really need to call your lawyer, make sure it is a scheduled call. You should prepare a list of questions in advance and take short notes during the conversation to not forget important details and come back to them later.
8. Divide Household Items
Seeking help from lawyers in the division of property is one thing. But you shouldn’t ask for the assistance of an attorney for the division of household items. You should talk to your spouse and agree on who gets what. If there is a dispute over the piano, it may not be about the musical instrument itself but emotions and memories. Try to find out the reason and agree on your own before contacting a lawyer.
9. Make it Easier to Divide up Your Retirement Funds
Dividing retirement accounts because of a divorce can be an expensive service. To do this, you need lawyers to write Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDROs). But there is a less costly approach. You can keep each account for yourself, provided that the accounts are roughly equal. If this is not possible, then the spouses can swap other assets. For example, one person may keep their retirement fund, and another person may keep the house.
10. Avoid House Appraisal Fees
Appraisal fees for residential properties and cars can be costly. If possible, negotiate the cost with your spouse and refuse professional appraisers. You can ask the estate agent for a comparative analysis of the market. Sometimes, estate agents provide this service for free. It will certainly not be as accurate as a paid appraisal done by professional appraisers, but it may be close enough.
11. Your Divorce Lawyer is not a Therapist
Divorce is always a nervous and exhausting process. And sometimes, clients want to vent their feelings or complain. It is worth remembering that your lawyer is not a therapist. They are not able to provide qualified medical services. But lawyers will take your money for the long conversations.
If you want to cut costs during your divorce proceedings, then you should pay attention to what you can do yourself without outside help. DIY divorce without the assistance of an attorney is inexpensive and fast. And internet divorce services will help you with this.