Divorce Can Hide Some Extreme Costs – It is Better to Be Financially Prepared (and Properly Represented)


Entering into a marriage is, for the most part, a partnership. A commitment to make things work no matter how hard they might seem. Living up to that commitment, though, is much more complicated than simply committing in the first place. With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that divorces are common and quite expensive. If you live in a state like California, the average divorce can cost around $17,500.

So, how much does a divorce cost in California? The answer is that it depends on how you work the divorce out. Working with the right legal professional can make sure that you avoid some of the typical hidden costs in a divorce. What, though, are the most common hidden costs that can make a ‘cheap’ divorce very expensive indeed?

Self-representation is often an expensive mistake

By far and away, the easiest way to pile on the hidden costs is to self-represent yourself in a divorce case. Many see this as the easy way to save money during a divorce. However, if the other party uses a legal professional, it is easy for a non-professional to become tied up in knots during the dispute.

This can add to the length and cost of the divorce proceedings. Instead, it might be better to let a professional handle the dispute. They can often find a quicker way to reach a settlement and resolution.

You will be making extensive decisions about your future, and without legal counsel, it is very easy to make an expensive mistake. In addition, divorce is a highly emotional issue; this can lead to making hot-headed decisions that cost you time and money down the line.

Negotiations and settlements

Another easy way to lose money and see your divorce costs balloon is to negotiate and reach agreements on your own. Many try to negotiate using principles and ethics in the courtroom; this does not matter. Principles are not for the courtroom. What matters are facts.

You might feel as if you have been wronged, but if you try to negotiate on that feeling instead of facts, you will run into trouble. If you want to be financially prudent during your divorce, you absolutely should focus on negotiating and settlements that are backed up with the facts, not feelings.

A court will only look at the facts. The opinion on the ethics or the cruelty of anything beforehand is not considered.

Failing to meet deadlines

Another challenge of self-representation is meeting the numerous deadlines and response times for documents that have been filed. If you represent yourself, it is easy for life to get in the way and miss important deadlines. This can make your case much harder to win and often has a long-term cost in terms of your ability to win the case.

If you intend to take a divorce case further, you should be prepared for an expensive, time-consuming experience. By hiring legal counsel, though, you can make sure you are adequately represented in the key moments. While this might not bring about a fairer settlement or a cheaper hearing, it can often make sure you are at least given the best chance of avoiding this.

Self-representation is a sunk cost; if you wish to get through the emotional turmoil of divorce as quickly and reasonably as possible, you should consider hiring assistance.

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of The World Financial Review.