More and more people these days stay together because they believe can’t afford to get a divorce. For those who truly have no money, they may qualify for pro bono legal representation through organizations like the Benton-Franklin Legal Aid Society. For others, the cost of divorce may be a daunting expense, but here are some things to consider:
The Cost of an Uncontested Divorce
The uncontested divorce is one where the parties are not fighting over division of assets/debt, child custody, child/spousal support. If there is nothing to fight about, or both spouses know everything about the other and are sure that there are no hidden assets and any proposed plan for parenting their children is fair, the divorce is a matter of filing out the right forms and filing them with the county clerk. The costs in terms of money are relatively low.
But there are other costs to consider. You must still obey all court rules and procedures. You must invest time into reading and understanding the laws and what you can and cannot do in court orders. You must also invest time in attending court hearing in order to obtain the signature of the judge. There are mandatory forms in Washington that you must use.
You can cut down on these non-monetary costs by using an attorney who has experience in family law. An experienced attorney has been through the process before and can efficiently guide you through the process, taking the worry and concern away from you. An attorney can also help make sure that the agreement you think you have made is the same one you are writing down on paper. An attorney can also talk to you about the long-term consequences of an agreement and the ways to make your spouse keep his/her word.
The Cost of a Contested Divorce
You and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse are not candidates for an uncontested divorce because you cannot agree on money, kids or residential matters.
Arguing can cost a lot of money. Not only do you now have to spend even more time in court, you have to spend time preparing outside of court learning the rules and practicing your arguments. You have to invest your time and energy into learning what you can and cannot say, what evidence you can and cannot present, what forms must can and cannot file.
But you also have a lot at stake. You have accumulated years of a marriage along with children, a house and bank accounts, so the investment is necessary. An attorney can cut down on these costs to you. As before, an attorney who is experienced in family law will know what needs to be said, filed, and argued in order to give you the best chance at getting what you want. As with any purchase, the right attorney will give you a good return on your investment. A good attorney can also work to help reach agreements without going to court by negotiating with your spouse or his attorney.
Call Pacific Northwest Family Law for your divorce questions, or any other family law issues. Our highly experienced attorneys will be thorough and honest in giving their advice. Schedule an appointment today at Pacific Northwest Family Law, 509-572-3700.