Still fearful of the costs

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11JB68

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Still fearful of the costs
« on: October 11, 2020, 11:14:19 PM »
Just read / wanted to react to someone's post on another thread and didn't want to hijack so started a new one here instead.
I'm still fearful of the cost involved with divorce. 7 years on parents couch? Attorneys took half the equity in the marital home?
Yikes.

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Bunnyme

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Re: Still fearful of the costs
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2020, 11:21:46 PM »
I am right there with you.  I'm 4 grand in and have only a temporary agreement.  My attorney said I'm probably in for 30-40k, which I dont have.  I'm looking into a divorce consultant.  You do all the legwork and they give advice and such.  I've also started reading Tina Swithin books and watching her videos.  She went pro se.  It was a very long battle, but she eventually prevailed.   

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GettingOOTF

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Re: Still fearful of the costs
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2020, 09:19:32 AM »
I walked away with every single asset. My divorce cost me $3,500 for the original attorney and $600 for a second attorney to fix something and finally push through the divorce. I paid maybe $150 in filing costs. The entire divorce took about two years.

It can go either way.

I have posted this before but I put the success of my settlement down to the fact that I negotiated and responded to who my ex actually is instead of who I wanted him to be. I put all my issues aside while dealing with him and dealt with the facts and how he acted. It only took two years because I wasted a lot of time trying to be the “good” person, trying to get him to agree and arguing over inconsequential things. My therapist helped me to focus on what I really wanted - a divorce and my money, everything else was noise.

https://www.womansdivorce.com/

This site is often recommended on other forums I read. A lot of the cost of the attorney is gathering papers and back and forth. If you can do that yourself you can save a fortune. You can also ask for paralegals to do the work, this is common and also saves significant cost.

You have to take any emotion out of the process. It’s not about who is right and who is wrong, it’s about securing a settlement and your freedom. You deal with the other stuff in therapy.

Edited to add - I have thrived since my divorce. I had no idea how much the constant stress was holding me back in every single area of my life. I make more money than we both made combined when I was married and I don’t have him around spending it all on alcohol, eating out and what ever his current favorite hobby is. It’s hard to see the big picture when you are in the thick of it. I dreaded the divorce process for years but I’m so much better off in every single area of my life.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2020, 09:32:36 AM by GettingOOTF »

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pushit

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Re: Still fearful of the costs
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2020, 02:16:48 PM »
There are definitely horror stories out there, but I'm another case where it wasn't so bad.  I spent about $20k to get everything completed, most of that was in the very early stages when exPDw was throwing every accusation in the book at me and I was also making the mistake of using my attorney to vent frustration.  After two $5k bills I quickly learned to only utilize him as a legal tool and vent elsewhere.  I got out with my half of everything and have been able to resume life just fine. 

Since the divorce has been finalized - I'm making more money than before and have been able to save a bit and pay bills down.  That wasn't possible while married, every time I thought we had a little money to pay down a debt it would get spent without my knowledge or she would scream at me for paying down any debts that were "mine".  She probably cost me $50k-$100k in interest payments and lost investment opportunities due to her financial control.  So, keep that part of the equation in mind and think about what it is costing you right now versus what it will cost to get out and have your freedom.

Beyond the cost, I have immeasurable peace in my life now.  It was the best $20k I ever spent and I would pay ten times that to go from where I was to where I am now.


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Poison Ivy

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Re: Still fearful of the costs
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2020, 04:52:47 PM »
My divorce also was not a horror story. I am a lawyer and although I don't practice, I work in a law-related field and thus probably know more about the divorce process than most nonlawyers. I didn't hire another lawyer to represent me in the divorce, but I did consult one to ask a few questions. Her bills came to less than $1,000. My ex didn't hire a lawyer, either. 

From filing to granting of the divorce was about six months.

We split the assets close to 50-50. (We didn't hire anyone to value the assets, so our estimates of their current and future value might have been off.) Ex got his pensions, his checking account, and more than half of the investments. I got my retirement plan, my checking account, the remainder of the investments, and the house. My income was more than my ex's at the time of the divorce, but he had been unemployed and underemployed by choice for several years, and I was very opposed to paying him maintenance (i.e., alimony). He agreed to not ask for maintenance. He said it would embarrass him to have me paying him. I think it stung my ex a bit to not get the house. However, he had already in effect moved out, to take care of his parents, and he was not contributing his time or labor to being a homeowner and had very minimal expenses when he lived with his parents. So it made the most sense for me to get the house and for him to get more of the liquid assets. (I like the house but it's a pain to take care of and pretty expensive.)

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Free2Bme

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Re: Still fearful of the costs
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2020, 06:23:59 PM »
In my case, I was a stay at home mom for 20 years, H a corp exec.  I put a 10k retainer, and spent an additional 35k +/- between my L and arbitration court over almost 3 years.  I opted for a "cooperative" divorce, sort of like mediation.  My L brought in 'neutrals', a CPA, child psychologist, social worker as additional counsel.  They took 10's of thousands and were really of no benefit to me or the children, in retrospect, those dollars would have been better spent on a guardian ad litem.  H took the newer car and the newer/better marital property and 100k in equity on marital home, this came from my portion of 401K. I will get part of his retirement, assuming he retires with current company @65yo.   Although I gave up career to stay home with children (no regrets), I only got 3 years of alimony though my state allows up to 10 years.  H spent around 60k total, the equivalent of one years bonus, so he was not really impacted financially at all.  I made it through, got the house (mortgage), but not a lot of long term security.

A side note: I did not want to go to court, I was not strong enough at the time due to paralyzing fear, H has many ASPD traits (and no support network) , I didn't want to put kids through it either.  I regret this very deeply.   Looking back, I might have faired better/worse financially, who knows.  But more importantly,  I believe I would have ended up with more than 50%of parenting time, and H would have likely ended up with supervised visitations after the court heard kid's testimony.

I don't mean to convolute the topic, I know your post addresses the monetary costs of divorce.  However,  there are many ways to approach this and much to consider, it's highly individual.   There are others here that have experience with the courts, and have much collective wisdom.  I wish I would have known then what I know now, I would have been more bold.

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Penny Lane

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Re: Still fearful of the costs
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2020, 06:36:44 PM »
I'm not sure exactly how much DH spent on lawyers in his divorce (I think it was tens of thousands) but I know he got a fairly bad deal, he had to dip into his retirement to pay his ex a settlement on the house and he took on a ton of debt. He also agreed to a pay more child support than she would've been entitled to. I would not have agreed to what he agreed to, but he really wanted out of the marriage.

And yet, he is in a much better place financially than he would have been if they'd stayed married. Even if you don't consider my salary. His pay has gone down, and that's still true.

He worked diligently to pay off his portion of their debt, so no more monthly payment. She squandered the tens of thousands she received in the divorce, and has nothing to show for it. No down payment for a house, she spent it all, and she only pays the minimum balance on her debt so it's still about where it was years ago. She let the kids' health insurance lapse and DH took her to court to put them on his insurance - because of that she gets no child support at all, solely because of bad decisions she made. He says she was making those decisions during their marriage as well (hence the debt) and if he'd stayed he would've been in the same position as her financially.

In his case at least, a divorce was a short term investment in very long term gain. This is true if you look purely at the finances, or if you look at the financial + emotional toll.

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Stillirise

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Re: Still fearful of the costs
« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2020, 01:54:55 PM »
Iím in the midst of it now, so I canít say what the final cost will be for me.  However, I can agree with much of what others have stated above.  I realize Iíll be taking a financial hit.  I also know what I have already gained in regard to my peace of mind, and the well-being of the children, make it worth the cost.

I also concur that you can minimize costs, by talking with the paralegal or the secretary, regarding procedural questions, etc.  Also, when something comes up that I believe might affect the outcome of the case, I send a brief email to my lawyerís secretary, outlining the issue.  If the lawyer feels it needs to be followed up on, she can call me back.  That keeps the meter from running, while we discuss something that may end up being irrelevant.

As others have mentioned, thereís lots of legwork you can do on your own, regarding your own assets, documents, etc.  My lawyerís secretary actually called me ďOCD,Ē because of the detail and accuracy of what I submitted, compared to what she usually sees.  I am definitely not typically a highly-organized person, but did the best I could for this.  It helped that stbxUPDh has never had an interest in handling our finances, or personal documents. I have always taken care of that. 

Also, we donít file motions, etc., unless required or absolutely necessary.  I know where I stand, what I will accept, what I wonít, and where I have room to negotiate.  Iíve spent about $2500, and several hours of my own time, so far, with no settlement in sight.  Iím playing the waiting game at the moment, hoping the stbxUPDh gets tired of all this first, and actually agrees to finish negotiating a settlement.   If we go to trial, I expect the cost to soar.   Iím prepared for it, though, before I let him walk all over me.

So, itís like everything else in this process. Prepare, plan, but at some point, you just have to jump and hope for the best.
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, Iíll rise.
óMaya Angelou