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How To Save Money During A Divorce

#divorce #love #relationships #narcissist #breaking up #family law #parenting #family #healthyrelationships #toxic #marriage #law #money Jan 31, 2021

Getting a Divorce?
You are probably going to be paying too much in divorce fees…

There may have been a moment when everything in your relationship felt perfect. During these blissful memories, not a single anxious thought crossed your mind. Yet in the present moment, you feel a mix of emotions.

Fear, anger, confusion. How did it all get so bad?

No matter how much time and energy you have put into trying to fix things with your partner, nothing works. In fact, everything just keeps getting worse.

The fights never stop. The intimacy ended long ago and the sight of your partner brings a rush of unhappy emotions. And every day you feel like you are losing your mind.

Then, it hits you like a truck full of bricks. The only way to keep your mental sanity, is to get a divorce.

How to avoid the $87,974 divorce
There is a grain of truth in all stereotypes and divorce is no exception. Divorces are pricey. And they will drain all your money and assets if you are not careful.

At best, an uncontested divorce can be settled at an average divorce lawyer fee of $1,540 (Source:  https://www.canadianlegal.org/divorce-fee-in-canada/)

However, divorces rarely go uncontested. Not only will this lead to a longer divorce proceeding, your fees will go through the roof.

If your divorce turns for the worse, and becomes a nasty high conflict divorce, than pricey may be an understatement.  In a recent survey by the Canadian Lawyer Magazine, the average contested divorce was settled at a fee of $13,638 CAD (Source: https://www.canadianlawyermag.com/staticcontent/images/canadianlawyermag/images/stories/pdfs/Surveys/2015/CL_June_15_GoingRate.pdf ).

You might be wondering, “Hold on a minute, will I need $15,000 just for my divorce!?”

Well, all divorces are different. Depending on the financial statements and the assets owned by both parties, the settlement costs will vary. As a general rule of thumb, the more disputes over assets, custody, and finances, then the higher the settlement fees will be. In the same survey, the highest contested divorce cost a grand total $87,974 CAD
(Source: https://www.canadianlawyermag.com/staticcontent/images/canadianlawyermag/images/stories/pdfs/Surveys/2015/CL_June_15_GoingRate.pdf)

In order to avoid losing your life’s savings to divorce, it is vital to know what to expect in divorce court and to have a plan before beginning the divorce proceedings.

Lawyers are hired protection. No more money? No more Protection. Period.

When you hire a divorce attorney to represent you, they will discuss their fee during a consultation session with you. On average, their representation fee can start from $200/hour (1 year of experience) to $400/hour (20+ years of experience)
(Source: Legal Fees survey Canadian Lawyer Mag)

During a divorce, expect to have your personal assets and finances targeted. If you are married to a narcissist or a high conflict person, then it is almost certain they will have their lawyer(s) try to drain everything you own. In terms of custody, it is not uncommon to see your ex call for sole custody with zero interactions with you and your children. As if they are trying to completely erase you from the family. These lead to more divorce disputes, which means spending more money on your lawyer(s) to fight back.

When these disputes arise, you will have to make a difficult choice. Which gets priority? Your legal fees? Or yourself and your children?

If you don’t keep up on your legal fees, you risk losing your assets, your children, and your livelihood. But if you lessen your focus on your children, your children will suffer in silence during the divorce. Would it surprise you to know that a woman can be forced to use her child support on legal fees?

Most will admit that children suffer during divorce, but if you are now forced into a litigious legal cycle dialing out thousands, even easily hundreds of thousands, keep in mind your children may suffer far longer than just the duration of a divorce.

Your precious children’s entire future gets placed on the chopping block.  But wait a minute, you are probably thinking, I thought lawyers were there to protect me?   The truth is, lawyers may still operate to protect their clients (if you find a lawyer with integrity), but remember how much your protection will cost.

If you can’t cross the finish line paying your attorney, your protection is gone. Remember, divorces can last for years. The last thing you need is for your funds to dry up during high-stakes disputes like custody or division of high-value assets.

In fact, when you get to Family Court, you may be surprised to find out you and your family are in the same place they see murderous criminals. One of the most common phrases I have heard divorce lawyers say is, “I am a lawyer, not a social worker”.

This is why it is so important to do your due diligence beforehand because there won’t be much compassion for your finances or personal struggles in Family Court.

Prioritizing legal fees over your family’s financial safety? Good mothers being pushed into poverty, forced to use their child support to pay legal fees? How does any of this make any moral sense?  

The answer is simple, it doesn’t.

When you step in to Family Court your lawyer owns you, the court owns you, and the court owns your assets. Children are treated as disputed property or assets in Family Court.  Sound severe?  Remember you must do your own homework because Family Court is anything but a loving place for families to re-structure or transition to unmarried parents.

You’d be far better off with psychologists, mediators and coaches, but we will talk more about that in a bit.  

Family Court is happy to take your money. You see, everyone in the system profits in family court.  Here’s a list of the individuals that profit off your children’s back, if you get caught in a high conflict divorce story: lawyers, the judges, the custody assessors, the parental coordinators, the clerks and others.  You see, there are jobs, high salaries and plenty of power for everyone - but not for you!  

The Wild West of Family Court

Families don’t profit in family court, they lose-period.   Some sage advice may be to think twice about what you may not know before you file for divorce.

That’s why strategic thinking and careful divorce preplanning is required for every woman hoping to survive financially.  Not just planning, but pre-planning. Remember the old adage, “Failure to plan is planning to fail”. One thing is certain, when you step in to the Family Law courtroom, it’s like the wild west; it costs money to get what you need the most, like protection.  

Wait a minute, but…  you’re probably saying now….  that doesn’t sound fair! I’m not sure what to tell you, but one thing I know for sure, Family Law is fair for only a few people.  It’s fair for lawyers because you can be sure that lawyers are the only ones who gain substantially, win and create mega profits for themselves only.  It’s fair for the judges who make rulings based on what they see on paper. At the end of the day, they all get paid, regardless of the outcome.

Sound brutal? It absolutely is.

It is critical to remember, once you enter the legal system, there is no exiting until it’s done. So, if you are about to lawyer up, you may want to hit the pause button and think again. Because if I asked you to imagine throwing all your hard-earned money down the toilet, would you?

If I asked you to take your children and go mingle with the Italian Mafia for fun, would you?

If I asked you to take your children and place them in danger, would you?

I doubt it, but a trip to family court is potentially worse than these scenarios, but you never know in advance and once you’re there, they don’t like to let you out.  

Before you place yourself or your children in more danger, check out some possible solutions in advance:

3 Possible Solutions to Spend Less Money During Divorce

1.    Privately hire a skilled 3rd party mediator (Not a Lawyer, although this person may have a law degree)

A mediator will walk you and your spouse through what to expect in the divorce process. You and your spouse will be able to negotiate the divorce without involving the courts and will therefore save thousands of dollars in court fees. The mediation process is confidential. Lawyers can be included to assist in legal counsel.

This approach, however, only works with couples who work together and come to an agreement. If the couple is unable to come to an agreement, then it is likely both parties will have to hire attorneys to represent them in court.

2.    Go to an agency in your city that offers mediative and collaborative processes for flat rates.

Like a professional mediator, a mediation agency can assist in the divorce process. While this process can make things cheaper, the process is far less personal. The agency will likely assign a mediator to your file but make no mistake, their involvement is only to assist in your negotiations with your spouse. They are not a judge and therefore are not able to make any rulings.

Like 3rd party mediators, they can only assist in helping the couple come to an agreement. If the couple is unable to mutually agree, then both parties will have to hire attorneys to represent them in court.

3.    Invest in a Divorce Coach throughout the divorce process.

Why might you need a divorce coach? Not only can a divorce coach help you save money in legal fees in the long run, divorce coaches are trained to help you plan for the process of divorce.

Having a divorce coach on your team means that you have someone to help you work through the fear and confusion of divorce. They are experts in opening lines of communication between yourself and your spouse. This will help foster healthy dialogues on how to amicably settle the divorce. When both parties agree on the divorce, the total legal costs are much lower.

In the event of a high conflict divorce, your coach remains at your side, warning you of the possible pitfalls during the divorce process. Your coach will help you identify what outcomes you wish to achieve at the end of the divorce and how to plan accordingly. This is especially important in matters such as child custody, parenting, and your financial health. Your coach will help cover all the bases that a lawyer cannot. While a lawyer is only interested in legalities, your coach is there to support you every step of the way.

With someone working with you and your spouse together, toward mutually agreeable solutions, you will both be able to make better decisions. Not only will this help you save thousands of dollars in legal fees, you will be able to take back your power and navigate through your divorce with a clear plan.

Don’t Walk Into Your Divorce Alone and Unprepared

A divorce coach is trained to help you through the emotional and practical issues of your divorce at a fraction of the hourly rate charged by your lawyer.

•    A divorce coach will help you manage the fear, anger and other emotions that go along with the end of a relationship. Your lawyer will be unable to help you with these highly charged emotions, but a divorce coach is trained to help you work through them.
•    Your divorce coach will work to resolve conflict between you and your spouse, unlike lawyers who, in fighting for the interests of one party, often exacerbate it.
•    When conflict and lengthy negotiations are reduced, so is your legal bill. Instead of going into debt for your legal fees, you can spend your money on your future and your children’s future.

Even though there might still be issues that require the involvement of a lawyer, such as financial settlements and child custody, a divorce coach can help make that interaction smoother, less stressful and far less expensive.

If you’re considering a separation or divorce, reach out to a divorce coach first and discover how to ease the financial and emotional pressures of your stressful situation.

Don’t dive in alone without a plan!

If you are worried about…

•    Spending more money than you have on divorce fees and lawyers
•    The safety of yourself and your kids during and after the divorce
•    Not knowing what is the right next step

Then click here to schedule a free 45-minute call with me and we can discuss how divorce coaching can help you navigate the fear and confusion of divorce.


 
 

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