One of the first questions a lot of spouses ask when going through a divorce is "Can I afford to get divorced?" It really is a valid question. Getting divorced can be expensive. You have the property distribution to work out, child support arrangements, lawyer fees, and court fees.
Thankfully, there are some things you can do to make it all a little less expensive. Here are 7 little known tips for getting a Florida cheap divorce.
1. Hire a flat fee attorney. Divorce attorneys can be very expensive. This is especially true if you hire one who bills by the hour or who requests a large retainer up front. And just because a lawyer is expensive doesnít necessarily mean he or she is good. Thatís why you should consider looking into hiring a flat fee attorney. These attorneys bill clients one low, flat fee for all of their services, helping you save thousands of dollars in many cases.
2. Get organized. Make sure you have all of your financial records and other important paperwork in place. When it comes to property distribution, itís good to be able to show how much you had coming into the marriage and how much you owned at the time of separation. Remember, Florida is an equitable distribution state, so property is divided in a manner thatís considered fair.
3. Know when to fight and when not to fight. Not everything is worth fighting over with your spouse. For example, you donít want to spend a ton of time and money fighting over a $300 TV. Itís just not worth it. Thereís a time to fight, and thereís a time to compromise.
4. Try to work out agreements with your spouse. Itís usually in your best interest to try to work out property distribution and child custody/support issues with your spouse so that the courts donít have to step in and do it for you. Sure, this is a very emotional time for you, and you might truly hate your spouse right now. But do your best to put all of that aside so you can come to a fair agreement thatís in everyoneís best interest.
5. Avoid document prep services. You might think that using document preparation services is a good way to save a few bucks. Itís not. These services are often headed up by "divorce paralegals"óa.k.a. not real attorneys. These so called "paralegals" arenít allowed to practice law in the state of Florida, and they often arenít familiar with the various local laws across the state. Hiring a document prep company can often end in frustration and end up costing much more in the long run. It is not uncommon for a divorce document preparation company to prepare the papers incorrectly, resulting in the judge dismissing the case, causing the client to have to pay a new court filing fee. Or, if the divorce paper "paralegal" calculates child support incorrectly, the client can either end up paying substantially more or get shortchanged for years.
6. Beware of emotional spending. Sure, itís important to take care of yourself during your divorce. Thereís nothing wrong with treating yourself. But you have to make sure you donít go too far and spend a lot of money that you donít really have. Everything in moderation.
7. Slow down and make rational decisions. It can be easy to give up, throw your hands in the air, and come to a hasty agreement regarding property distribution with your spouse. Donít do it. Slow down. Take a breath. These decisions have long-term repercussions. Make sure youíre coming to a fair agreement.
If you stick to these tips, youíll be able to get a Florida cheap divorce that could save you big bundles of cash.