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Four Behaviors to Avoid to Reduce Divorce Costs

The overall cost of your divorce can be impacted by several behaviors you may be able to control. When a marriage dissolves there are several important topics that need to be addressed and sorted out, such as child custody, visitation, division of property, and support. Recognizing the following four behaviors and how to manage them ahead of time may be able to help your divorce lawyer properly gather the information he or she needs to put your case together and can reduce your divorce costs at the same time:

  • Having unclear objectives
  • Being overly enmeshed in your case
  • Using your lawyer as a therapist
  • Expecting justice in the courts

Having unclear objectives

One of the biggest mistakes you can make at the outset of your divorce is to not know what you hope to accomplish. Before you begin filing or responding to divorce motions, you would be wise to discuss your goals, objectives, and what results you can likely expect with your divorce lawyer. Having such a discussion with your divorce lawyer can help reduce the chances of unnecessary litigation, and can help you understand what you can likely expect through your divorce and what the costs might be.

Being overly enmeshed in your case

Divorce typically deals with topics that bring about high emotions and intensity, which may result in a spouse becoming overly indulged or enmeshed in his or her case. When this happens, it is not uncommon for a spouse to supply large amounts of irrelevant research material to his or her divorce lawyer, which can drive up the costs of attorney's fees. Additionally, a spouse that is enmeshed in the case may begin micromanaging the divorce lawyer's work, which can create more work for the lawyer and can be counter-productive. Setting clear objectives and goals and knowing what to expect from your divorce lawyer in advance can help reduce the tendency to become overly enmeshed in your case.

Using your lawyer as a therapist

Due to the high emotions that typically go along with divorce, it is not uncommon for spouses to begin venting or discussing problems they had in their marriage or how they feel about the other spouse with their divorce lawyer. Many times, these types of discussions are strictly emotional, add no value to the client's case, and are discussions better suited for a therapist. Divorce lawyers are typically concerned with facts, not feelings. Additionally, the time a spouse spends in these types of emotional communications with his or her divorce lawyer can increase costs very quickly. Before initiating communication with your divorce lawyer, decide if the communication is meant to vent or to pass on worthwhile information.

Expecting justice in the courts

Spouses many times believe that if they can just have their day in court, justice will prevail. Spouses who believe that the courts are going to give them justice are often misguided and end up extremely disappointed with the results. Better results and happier divorce endings are often accomplished through mediation and/or stipulated agreements. When a judge makes a decision, it is rarely a win-win decision for both spouses. To manage your expectations of justice in the family courts, you would be wise to consult your divorce lawyer to help you determine what results you can likely expect if your case goes to trial.


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Generally, debts incurred during the marriage are community obligations. This includes credit card bills, even if the credit card is in one name only. Student loans are an important exception because they are considered separate property debts. Community property possessions and community property debts are divided equally unless both spouses agree to an unequal division in writing. If spouses can't agree on the division of debts and possessions, a judge makes that decision.
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