Top 10 tips for staying sane and saving money during your divorce
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At its best, divorce is inconvenient. And at its worst, it’s a mess. Either way, splitting ties with your spouse often comes at the high cost of stressful meetings, sleepless nights, and a lot of money. But before you resign yourself to losing your sanity or savings in the divorce process, check out these ten tips that will make your life much more comfortable.
- Be organized. Your life may feel like a mess, but that doesn’t mean it has to stay that way. Getting your financials and assets in order removes an element of chaos from the situation. It’s also a good idea to write down any divorce questions questions you have and make sure all upcoming divorce meetings are in your calendar. These small steps will help you communicate with your lawyers and spouse in a timely matter, which in turn reduces your hourly bill.
- Read your fee agreement and review your bills. Not all legal professionals charge the same amounts, so it’s wise to read the full fee agreements from your lawyer and know what you’ll be charged for and when. There are times when it will be cheaper for you to contact a paralegal instead of asking your lawyer. And always review your bills in full each month and ask if you don’t understand any charges.
- Leave emotion out of it. It’s never smart to make big decisions while your emotions are high. Set your anger aside at each meeting and face your spouse with a reasonable and logical mindset. This will prevent you from doing anything you regret and save you time (and money) in the negotiations.
- Disclose everything. Hiding anything about your divorce (issues, assets, etc.) can cause you some severe financial damage down the road. Your ex may end up receiving those hidden assets as punishment for your dishonesty. Or, your lawyer may have to spend a lot of extra time doing damage control because you hid information. Either way, it’s a loss to you. You wanted to save some money on spousal support payments, and you end up loosing big on property division.
- Consider divorce mediation. Some states require negotiation before you ever take your divorce to trial because it’s so effective. Before you schedule a costly court date, try hiring a divorce mediator to discuss terms with you and your spouse. This can be significantly less stressful, and it allows you both to have a say in the divorce terms rather than just a judge and jury. Be sure to discuss any concerns with a consulting lawyer before mediation, so you know what your rights are and what type of an agreement to shoot for.
- Manage your expectations and demands. While your first reaction may be to drive your spouse into the ground, don’t allow yourself to go that route. Acting out of spite will make you less rational and often look less credible in the eyes of the court. Instead, make a reasonable list of what you really want/need from the divorce and work toward making that list happen. It’s highly unlikely that you will walk away with everything, so work toward compromise instead.
- Make time for a mental health routine. Everyone deals with stress differently, but divorce stress can be a whole different game for your coping mechanisms, especially if you are getting a divorce during a pandemic. Make time for some self-care by scheduling regular stress-relieving (and free) activities, such as yoga, breathing exercises, art, or physical exercise.
- Avoid drugs and alcohol. Mind-altering substances are certainly not the way to make rational decisions. Even if the stress of your divorce is chipping away at your sanity, drugs and alcohol are a very temporary solution that could bring you permanent consequences. Rather than drowning your problems in these methods, turn to a healthy alternative like a positive self-care routine. It’ll be better for your mind and your wallet.
- Find things that make you happy. Divorce can feel like a bubble of stress and sadness. It’s vital for your sanity that you find ways to break out and make you smile. Instead of wallowing in sorrow, surround yourself with happy people that make you laugh, watch comedies, and listen to happy music that keeps a smile on your face.
- Stay positive. Divorce is not an end—it’s a beginning. Take this opportunity to really explore yourself and discover your personal strengths. Find ways to develop yourself through inspirational books and talks and focus on the progress you’re making on your own. And most importantly, stay away from negative people and replace them with people who encourage you during this time.
Divorce does not have to go hand-in-hand with stress and an empty bank account. If you follow these steps, you’ll be able to navigate your divorce with a clear head, a lighter heart, and more money in your pocket. Reach out to us and get a free consultation with our divorce attorneys.