Five Sure-Fire Ways to Increase the Costs of Your Divorce

The old joke is that divorces are expensive because they are worth it.  Nevertheless, some people insist on making their case as absolutely expensive as possible.  Here are five ways to drastically increase the costs of your divorce.

Overcommit financially – Often people under stress deal with that stress with a little “retail therapy.”  They continue spending as though nothing has changed, or worse, they spend even more than during the marriage.  They shower the children with new gifts trying to buy their affection or they overcommit to the lease or purchase of a new home.  While it is perfectly reasonable to want nice things and provide a lovely home for your family, you have to keep in mind your current (and future) financial situation.

Involve your lawyer in every decision – You should definitely consult your lawyer when necessary about your case, but I have had clients who asked me to give them advice on dating.  Definitely not money well spent.  I heard the story in USA Today about a woman who would call her lawyer every day to ask him to speak with her parrot thinking that her husband would eventually have to pay the huge legal fees.  She was wrong and had to pay her own $70,000 legal bill

Demand an absolute even split down to the penny - Marital finances never work out that way neither do divorce finances.  Keep in mind the statute requires a “just” division of property not an equal one.  When you are fighting over the value of a TV or a sofa, keep in mind that the amount spent in lawyer fees will likely not make the difference in values worth fighting over.

Insist on fighting over everything - Not saying that you have to roll over by any stretch of the imagination, but I mediated a case one time where two seemingly intelligent people were arguing over everything right down to the Post-it notes in the house.  Some things simply are not worth it especially when you compare what you gain to what you will pay in time and litigation costs.

Do something stupid that results in criminal charges - In divorce cases, there is a lot of stress and conflict.  I have seen otherwise normally reasonable people flip out and do things that they would never otherwise think of doing.  Before they know it, they have criminal charges against them for things like criminal mischief (property damage), animal cruelty, stalking, driving under the influence, and assault/domestic violence.  Then they are not only having to pay legal fees to defend those charges, but, most likely, fines and court costs as well.

These are just a few ways you can make your divorce more expensive.  The two key words of advice that will help control your costs more than anything else? "Be reasonable."

Photo courtesy of Chris Potter

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