You’re going through a divorce. You may feel that you’re watching your life crumble, including your finances. It’s tempting to want to save money by doing it all yourself. Whether ending the marriage was your idea or not, it’s a time when you’ll be making big decisions that are different than any decisions you’ve ever had to make. It’s not time to be penny wise and pound foolish. Because divorce isn’t an everyday occurrence, here are some pointers that can help you and save you money.
Too many people assume attorneys make things worse. With a good attorney, that’s not true. Many people have never had another reason to hire an attorney, so they don’t know a good attorney from a bad one. In a divorce, part of being a good divorce attorney is assuming you’ll be able to negotiate a settlement without going to court, but being willing to go to court if needed. Also, a good attorney isn’t going to make promises about the outcome. There is a range of potential outcomes if you go to court. So an attorney can give you an idea of what to expect, but very few guarantees.
A financial expert who specializes in divorce can be a huge help. Generally, the financial expert will be able to do some calculations to show you what several different financial settlements will look like. This expert will cost less per hour than an attorney and can go to court to testify in your case if necessary. A good financial professional who doesn’t usually do work on divorce cases may come up with some great ideas, but if those ideas won’t make it through a negotiation or a court hearing, it’s not the help you need.
If you have minor children, you might need some professional input there. Good parents generally agree that the well being of their children is the most important concern in a divorce. Many parents can come to a parenting agreement that works without professional help. But don’t hesitate to hire a parenting specialist if you can’t agree on issues about your kids.
Maybe the most important professional for you in a divorce is a therapist. Friends and family are important for emotional support, but sometimes they tell us what we want to hear. A good therapist helps you move forward with your new life. Therapy doesn’t have to be a long term commitment. Divorce is a huge life transition. Some objective help is worthwhile.
Once a divorce is finished, the courts aren’t generally inclined to allow people to have a “do over” because one of the former spouses changed their mind. The decisions you’re making will impact the rest of your life and they’re not the type of choices you make all the time. You owe it to yourself to make well thought out decisions and professionals can help you do that.