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How to file for divorce on a budget

You have always been careful with your finances, paying all your bills on time and reducing expenses when money is tight. You have come to the point where you feel you ought to file for divorce, but are concerned that the cost of doing so will be exorbitantly high.

The fact is that you can go through a divorce on a budget, and in the end may find the personal happiness you are missing right now. The way to get there without spending extra money might surprise you.

Mediation saves money and time

Hiring a pair of fiercely competitive lawyers and fighting it out in court is the most expensive and time consuming way to execute divorce proceedings. If you and your soon to be ex can sit down across a table and come to a mutual agreement on the division of assets and child custody, you can save thousands in fees and time waiting for court dates.

Even if you only agree on some points, but not others, bringing fewer arguments to the judge reduces costs. Yes, you can participate in mediation and still have your individual attorneys to protect your best interests.

Hiring an attorney is still cost effective

While you can simply file divorce papers with the courts, it is still a good idea to at least consult with a lawyer to review the agreement you are submitting. An attorney who is experienced in family law will be able to catch any errors or omissions that you may have skipped during arbitration.

Those mistakes could come back to haunt you at a later date, potentially resulting in higher costs than consulting with a professional in the first place. Remember, a lawyer is your advocate and will look at the papers with an eye to protecting your interests.

Stick to your budgets - especially now

Not only are you in the midst of splitting assets, a divorce results in supporting the cost of establishing a second household. While it is tempting to splurge on your new found freedom or in refurbishing the old family home, doing so will ruin all the hard work to keep family finances in line over the years.

Do not ruin your credit rating and exit divorce proceedings with more debt than is strictly necessary. Stick to that long established budget and sock away a few more dollars for the future. The worst case scenario is that you saved money unnecessarily - and can have a little unexpected windfall later.

Stay organized and save on fees

If you have hired a lawyer to handle all the details of the divorce, remember their time costs money. Every time you call the office, send in a piece of paper or make an appointment, you might be adding to your total. Make a list of questions and call once a week. Submit paperwork neatly and organized. Be their assistant and reduce your bottom line.

Divorce might be emotionally difficult, but it does not have to be unreasonably expensive.

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