As Texans, we all know Willie Nelson. Though, we may not know one of his many famous quotes: “You know why divorces are so expensive? They’re worth it.” This quote brings us to the topic of this week’s post: divorce costs and how to keep them down.
The divorce process
First, before going over divorce costs, it is important to understand the basics of the process. Essentially, divorce is the legal process that ends (dissolves) a marriage, which is ended when the family court judge issues the final divorce decree. Before issuing that final divorce decree that ends the marriage, one of the spouses will need to file a document with the family court to dissolve the marriage, and the costs associated with the legal proceedings (filing fees) are relatively minimal, usually only a few hundred dollars. The largest costs associated with a marriage are attorney’s fees, which vary widely.
Contested versus uncontested
The first thing that will dictate attorney fee costs is whether the divorce is contested or uncontested. This means whether both spouses agree that they want to divorce and, as such, whether a trial is needed. Divorce litigation is the primary driver of high divorce costs.
Separating and valuing assets
For some marriages, there are issues with valuing assets, like homes, paintings, etc. This can complicate the property division process and need an attorney or other expert to help. If the spouse can work together to split those assets and debts, then an attorney may not be needed, especially if there is a prenuptial agreement as that will control the split.
For those with children, if they can agree on a visitation, custody and decisional rights, then attorney’s fees can be greatly lessened. After all, fights over children can be the most contentious and costly fights. As our Decatur, Texas, readers can see, the key to keeping divorce costs down is the ability of the couple to agree on key issues.