Divorce is a difficult, involved process that can also be expensive. No one has money to burn when it comes to divorce proceedings. If you feel you must get out of your marriage but have no money, then I’m sure you’re wondering how to afford a divorce with no money. Here are some tips that can help.
How to Afford a Divorce with No Money
Divorce is never easy and it can be quite an emotional time.
Tensions are running high and you’re feeling a lot of stress.
Add in the fact you don’t have any money to pay for a divorce and you might just be feeling completely helpless.
With that in mind, here are a few ways you can make getting a divorce less expensive.
1. Have a Real Conversation with Your Spouse
I know that there may be bad feelings between you and your spouse right now, but if you can try to set them aside, for now, it can lead to getting a divorce without spending a bunch of money.
Sit down with your spouse and agree to who is getting what.
If your partner is reasonable, you can split assets fairly and create a parenting plan that you both feel comfortable with.
Try not to fight with each other over all of your possessions.
They are just things. You can always get more things.
Talk through a reasonable agreement on who gets what.
If you can do this together then you don’t need to pay a lawyer to do it for you.
I had a friend that went through a divorce and did this.
She just asked to keep what she brought into the marriage and let her husband keep his stuff.
She took her car and he took his.
They didn’t own a house, so that certainly made things easier.
Even so, they split things up between them in a fair manner.
2. Negotiate Child Custody Arrangement With Your Partner
Rather than going to court come up with a child custody arrangement with your partner.
Even when couples are not on good terms, there is no reason to involve the courts in a child custody agreement.
Chances are you both want what is best for your children.
Start with that in mind and then made the more difficult decisions about who the children will live with and visitations.
Again, if you can come to a fair agreement, you won’t need the courts or an attorney to help with this.
3. Try to Settle Out of Court if at All Possible
The more you can agree on, the less time you will need to spend in a courtroom or an attorney’s office.
Even if you don’t get along with your spouse at this moment, remember, this was someone you once loved enough to marry.
If you can come to terms on your own, then you won’t have to go to court.
There is a middle ground even if you don’t see it right now.
Try to remember why you married this person in the first place and then work from there when you are making your settlement.
4. Do Not Hire a Lawyer Who Charges by the Hour
If you can’t work things out on your own, you should try to find an attorney or mediator who charges a flat fee per divorce case or settlement.
This will save you a lot of money.
You’ll also know how much it will cost you upfront, so there are no surprises down the road.
5. Have a Paralegal Draw Up the Papers Instead of an Attorney
Paralegals are less expensive than full-fledged lawyers.
This is what my friend did.
She had a paralegal draw up the paperwork. Then she and her husband filled in the blanks.
It cost her $80 dollars to get the paperwork instead of thousands of dollars it would cost to have a divorce lawyer do it.
When they filed the paperwork at the courthouse, that was another $80 dollars.
6. Contact Your Local Legal Aid Center
Find out if there is a legal aid center in your area that can help you get started with the process of getting a divorce for free or at a reduced rate.
This can be a very inexpensive way to get a divorce.
7. File the Paperwork Yourself
The most straightforward way to save money is to file the paperwork yourself.
That’s right, you can actually file your own divorce papers.
If there is a significant amount of property involved, it may be better to hire a lawyer for his or her expertise.
My friend filed her paperwork herself. That was the $80 dollar fee.
She just had her husband sign everything after they filed in the paperwork the paralegal gave her and had it notarized.
Then she went to the courthouse and filed it.
It wasn’t at all difficult.
8. Continue Living in the Same House Until the Divorce is Finalized
If you’re really short on cash, consider living in the same house until everything is finalized.
This might be a bit stressful and I can’t help but think of the movie War of the Roses, but if you can get along well enough with your spouse, this could the way to go.
Of course, in the movie, Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner both end up dead, so make sure you and your partner can get along well enough to live through the experience.
9. Cut All of Your Extra Spending to Save Money for the Divorce
If you’re thinking of divorce, start cutting out your unnecessary expenses now and start putting money aside to pay for the divorce.
Put the money in a savings account in your name.
You’ll still want to try to work through a settlement with your spouse if you can to avoid court costs, but if you start saving, you will have some money for lawyers if it comes to that.
10. Get a Second Job
If you’re not getting along with your spouse, it might not be a bad idea to spend less time at home. Getting a second job will give you more time to not be with your spouse and it will also help you pay for a divorce.
Just be sure to save all of this extra money.
Don’t spend it.
Retail therapy can be nice, but now is not the time for it.
11. Create a Plan Before Asking for a Divorce
There is no rule that says you have to run out and get a divorce as soon as you know you’re going to get one.
It is sometimes better to wait until you are emotionally ready, have your affairs in order, and plan for a divorce before asking for one.
You might even want to try counseling instead of jumping into the deep end and simply ending your marriage.
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12. Consider Mediation instead of Litigation
If you and your partner can’t come to terms on a settlement or child custody on your own, consider mediation.
It will be less time-consuming and less expensive than litigation.
12. Use Court-Approved Parenting Plans
There are certain parenting plans that the court recognizes as being more fair and equitable than others — and if you want to save time, money, and have a parenting plan you can feel confident in, this is a great way to start.
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To Sum it Up:
Divorce is never easy. It is an emotional time and adding in the expense of a divorce is stressful as well. Consider doing the paperwork yourself and coming to a settlement without going before a judge. A paralegal can draw up the papers and you can file them. If you can do that, you can get your divorce even if you don’t have a lot of money to pay for one.