Seven steps to cutting your divorce costs

Getting divorced is an expensive business. When you divorce the money that you used to share between you has to support two households instead of one, plus there are the mounting divorce costs and solicitor fees.

But divorce costs don't have to spiral out of control. Here are our top tips to how you can cut your costs when getting divorced.

Cut Your Divorce Costs Tip #1 - Do a DIY divorce

If your divorce is pretty amicable, then the divorce process can be a lot less costly. If you and your ex can decide on the split of your possessions in a fair manner, without the divorce getting nasty, then you can avoid hours of solicitor fees while you argue out the division of assets.

You can also do a DIY divorce without the expense of a solicitor. Lawpack's Separation & DIY Divorce Kit gives you all the instructions, information and divorce forms you need to simply manage your own uncontested divorce, plus the Divorce Kit takes you step-by-step through the divorce process.  

Lawpack also has a DIY Divorce Online Service which can help you with your DIY divorce. All the divorce forms are completed for you by qualified divorce experts, plus you can receive free expert support & divorce advice by telephone and email. All at a fixed price to stop your divorce costs from spiralling out of control.

Cut Your Divorce Costs Tip #2 - Choose your divorce lawyer carefully

If you do feel that you need a solicitor, then make sure that you are hiring the right divorce lawyer for you. Legal fees can mount up fast, so it's vital that you get the best person for the job.

The best way you can ensure that you get a good divorce lawyer is to find one through personal recommendations. If that's not an option for you, Lawpack's Find a Lawyer Service can help you to find the right divorce lawyer in your area at the right price.

Alternatively, you can contact Resolution, which is an association of marital lawyers that promotes a non-confrontational approach to divorce. They try to help you reach a divorce settlement in the least litigious way possible. And the least litigious your divorce is, the cheaper it should be.

Lawpack also offers a Managed Divorce Service, where you can get your divorce managed by divorce experts and supervised by a divorce solicitor. The Managed Divorce Service is set at a fixed price, so - unlike high-street solicitors - you're not charged by the hour or minute for dealing with your divorce.

Cut Your Divorce Costs Tip #3 - Try and be nice

All divorces don't have to end in the divorce courts. If you choose mediation or collaborative law as a way to sort out your divorce, then it will be cheaper and offer both you and your ex-partner a more dignified approach. The other advantage is that if you avoid the courtroom,, your divorce can remain a far more private affair.

If you are beyond the point of being civil with your ex, then the divorce courts are probably unavoidable. But don't just thrash it out in the nearest divorce courts to you. If you're a foreign national or have foreign property, choosing the right country to get divorced in can dramatically affect your divorce settlement. Plus if you're the wealthier partner, then try to avoid the English divorce courts if you can as the divorce courts in England are far more generous when it comes to divorce settlements than most other countries (even more generous than Scotland).

If you can't escape going to a divorce court in England, try to avoid London divorce courts as they tend to be more generous than other parts of the country when it comes to financial divorce settlements.

Cut Your Divorce Costs Tip #4 - Don't keep calling your divorce lawyer

Divorce lawyers charge for all of their time; whether it's the time they spend travelling to court hearings, writing letters for you or just listening to you going mad on the phone. So, to keep your divorce costs down, don't call your divorce lawyer unless you really need to.

Cut Your Divorce Costs Tip #5 - Sever your financial ties

As soon as you know there is no chance of you reconciling with your partner, close your joint bank accounts and cancel any joint credit cards. Divorce courts rarely take into account any 'misuse' of these accounts when dividing assets between divorce partners.

Also, don't forget to revise your will and make the necessary changes to any life policies/pensions/death-in-service benefits. Read more on why you should rewrite your will when getting divorced.

If your property is owned in both your names and passes automatically to your spouse upon your death, get that changed too.

Cut Your Divorce Costs Tip #6 - Don't move in with your new lover

If you're lucky enough to have found love with a new partner, do not move in with them until your divorce settlement is decided. If you do, their income/assets may well be taken into account in your divorce settlement.

Cut Your Divorce Costs Tip #7 - Get a financial adviser

Given all the financial upheaval of a divorce, this is often a good time to employ a good independent financial adviser (IFA) who can help you structure any financial divorce settlements and help you work out how you can live with your new income.

Otherwise, contact Resolution, as they train IFAs to help with their policy of non-confrontational divorce.

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Published on: February 16, 2010

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