How To Save Money On Your Divorce

Divorce can be difficult and financial worries often burden already overwhelmed families.  Often folks ask how to save money  and keep afloat financially during the process.  This can be difficult at times, especially if one spouse moves out, the household expenses will typically increase, not decrease.  During divorce mediation, we have a conversation about income and expenses and how to divorce with financial peace. Here are a few helpful tips we discuss to save money on your divorce:

Stay out of court!

The cheapest way to divorce is to avoid the court room!  Litigating your divorce in court can possibly end in bankruptcy or financial ruin for both you and your spouse. Consider using a qualified mediator to empower you to make decisions for you and your family.  Mediation fees are typically much less expensive compared to litigation fees during the divorce or custody process. Your chances of a quick, inexpensive and amicable divorce significantly increase by simply staying out of the court room.

Ask for an estimate

At the initial divorce consultation, ask for an estimate of the fees and whether you will need to pay a large retainer upfront.  A retainer is a lump sum, advance payment to your attorney to begin your case, and can be in the $2000 – $5000 or more range.  If cash flow is an issue, consider asking whether your attorney offers “unbundled” legal services. Unbundling may help your cash flow because you only pay for the services you actually use or need, essentially you will pay for your services as you go. As a mediator, I find that unbundling my services helps families move forward without the financial stress of large upfront payments.

Know your finances

Gather and organize your financial statements and prepare a budget worksheet on your own. By becoming better aware of your financial situation, rather than asking your lawyer to prepare these documents for you, will save you precious time and money. If you are using a mediator, making copies and sharing these documents with your spouse ahead of time will also help save you time and money during the process.

Hire your own professionals

You and your spouse may need to hire other professionals such as accountants, certified divorce financial planners, appraisers, real estate agents and therapists. Using professionals to assist in business valuations, valuing personal assets, investments, retirement accounts, homes, and taxes can be helpful but are not always necessary during a divorce. Agreeing on whether to hire these experts with your spouse and agreeing to share in these expenses can save your family time and money.

Be organized

When preparing for a mediation or meeting, organizing your thoughts will save you time and money.  Write a list of your questions and the important matters that you wish to discuss. Staying focused and prepared will help you make decisions and find solutions efficiently. Gather and organize your paperwork and documents in a special folder, and make the necessary copies, so that you are prepared to provide the information when asked in a timely manner.

Communicate

You and your spouse have previously had to communicate during your marriage and make important decisions.   During the divorce process it can be helpful to continue to talk to your spouse about the big decisions for your family. When divorcing you will need to make decisions about your children and pets and how to divide your assets and debts. Try to find common ground and discuss the most effective way to distribute the cars, homes, pets and bank accounts. This may seem like common sense, but the more you and your spouse talk and communicate with each other directly instead of through lawyers the less expensive your divorce will be!

If you would like more information about a healthy divorce, contact Dawn Clement at Dawn@ClementMediation.com for more information or to set up a consultation.

Dawn Clement
Attorney & Mediator
http://www.HealthyDivorcePA.com

 

How To Save Money On Your Divorce

What does a no-fault divorce mean in Pennsylvania?

No Fault

What does a no-fault divorce mean? In Pennsylvania, we have a 90 day mutual consent no fault divorce option. If both spouses mutually agree (consent) that the marriage is “irretrievably broken”, a divorce can be obtained regardless of fault.  An “irretrievable breakdown” is a fancy way to simply state that a marriage cannot be saved, or that it is hopeless. This legal option eliminates the need for one spouse to formally blame the other spouse of misconduct in court.  Allowing families to keep their private information and “dirty laundry” out of court and out of the public record is a benefit to couples that choose to divorce peacefully.

Simple Path

Procedurally, your divorce will take longer than 90 days, but the filing requirements and fees are less expensive if you choose this route.  Eliminating the public accusations and he-said-she-said can bridge the divide and help create the  a path to a simple, cost effective divorce. A qualified divorce mediator can help you focus on navigating the issues of divorce and move forward peacefully, avoiding the guilt and shame that may surface publically during a trial. If a healthy divorce sounds appealing to you, give divorce mediation a try!

If you would like more information about a healthy divorce, contact Dawn Clement at Dawn@ClementMediation.com for more information or to set up a consultation.

Dawn Clement
Attorney & Mediator
http://www.HealthyDivorcePA.com

 

What does a no-fault divorce mean in Pennsylvania?

Divorce Checklist

Your divorce mediator may ask you to gather documents to prepare for your divorce. These documents should include property and debt owned both individually and together. Your mediator will ask you questions, such as the date acquired and the approximate value and title of these items. In mediation, it is helpful to prepare copies of these documents for your spouse so that you both are able to have an informed discussion and make decisions together about the disposition of your properties or debts.

Divorce Mediation Checklist

  • Bank statements
  • Your employment, salary and description
  • Spouse’s employment, salary and description
  • Tax returns
  • Family expenses
  • Individual expenses
  • Personal property list
  • Real estate asset list
  • Stocks/Bonds/CD’s
  • Credit card statements
  • Loan statements
  • Retirement statements
  • Life insurance policies
  • Business financial statements
  • Trusts
  • Safety deposit box content list
  • Motor vehicle titles
  • Other assets or liabilities not listed above

If you need help preparing these documents, consider reaching out to a qualified professional such as your accountant, bookkeeper,  property appraiser or financial advisor. Gathering these documents on your own will save you time and money in the long run. It may seem overwhelming at first, but a knowledgeable and qualified mediator will help you navigate the documents you need during your divorce process.

If you would like more information about a healthy divorce, contact Dawn Clement at Dawn@ClementMediation.com  for more information or to set up a consultation.

Dawn Clement
Attorney & Mediator
http://www.HealthyDivorcePA.com

Divorce Checklist

How to save money on your divorce.

Divorce can be difficult and financial worries often burden already overwhelmed families.  Often folks ask how to save money  and keep afloat financially during the process.  This can be difficult at times, especially if one spouse moves out, the household expenses will typically increase, not decrease.  During divorce mediation, we have a conversation about income and expenses and how to divorce with financial peace. Here are a few helpful tips we discuss to save money on your divorce:

Stay out of court!

The cheapest way to divorce is to avoid the court room!  Litigating your divorce in court can possibly end in bankruptcy or financial ruin for both you and your spouse. Consider using a qualified mediator to empower you to make decisions for you and your family.  Mediation fees are typically much less expensive compared to litigation fees during the divorce or custody process. Your chances of a quick, inexpensive and amicable divorce significantly increase by simply staying out of the court room.

Ask for an estimate

At the initial divorce consultation, ask for an estimate of the fees and whether you will need to pay a large retainer upfront.  A retainer is a lump sum, advance payment to your attorney to begin your case, and can be in the $2000 – $5000 or more range.  If cash flow is an issue, consider asking whether your attorney offers “unbundled” legal services. Unbundling may help your cash flow because you only pay for the services you actually use or need, essentially you will pay for your services as you go. As a mediator, I find that unbundling my services helps families move forward without the financial stress of large upfront payments.

Know your finances

Gather and organize your financial statements and prepare a budget worksheet on your own. By becoming better aware of your financial situation, rather than asking your lawyer to prepare these documents for you, will save you precious time and money. If you are using a mediator, making copies and sharing these documents with your spouse ahead of time will also help save you time and money during the process.

Hire your own professionals

You and your spouse may need to hire other professionals such as accountants, certified divorce financial planners, appraisers, real estate agents and therapists. Using professionals to assist in business valuations, valuing personal assets, investments, retirement accounts, homes, and taxes can be helpful but are not always necessary during a divorce. Agreeing on whether to hire these experts with your spouse and agreeing to share in these expenses can save your family time and money.

Be organized

When preparing for a mediation or meeting, organizing your thoughts will save you time and money.  Write a list of your questions and the important matters that you wish to discuss. Staying focused and prepared will help you make decisions and find solutions efficiently. Gather and organize your paperwork and documents in a special folder, and make the necessary copies, so that you are prepared to provide the information when asked in a timely manner.

Communicate

You and your spouse have previously had to communicate during your marriage and make important decisions.   During the divorce process it can be helpful to continue to talk to your spouse about the big decisions for your family. When divorcing you will need to make decisions about your children and pets and how to divide your assets and debts. Try to find common ground and discuss the most effective way to distribute the cars, homes, pets and bank accounts. This may seem like common sense, but the more you and your spouse talk and communicate with each other directly instead of through lawyers the less expensive your divorce will be!

If you would like more information about a healthy divorce, contact Dawn Clement at Dawn@ClementMediation.com to set up a consultation.

Dawn Clement
Attorney & Mediator
http://www.HealthyDivorcePA.com

 

How to save money on your divorce.

Thinking about getting a divorce in Pennsylvania?

If you are thinking about getting a divorce, first consider divorce mediation.  A neutral and qualified mediator can help you and your spouse divide the property and parenting responsibilities peacefully and respectfully.

A mediated divorce is an amicable, simple and efficient process. Pennsylvania has a Mutual Consent No-Fault Divorce option which allows couples to obtain a divorce regardless of marital fault. The benefit to choosing this type of divorce is that you are able to move forward after a 90 day waiting period, without the need of one spouse to show misconduct through the court system. Time and money are precious resources, especially during a divorce, and the mediated pathway is an efficient and less expensive method of obtaining a divorce.

You have probably heard from your family and friends that the divorce process is devastating. This does not have to be the case for your family! Couples using mediation tend to end the marriage in a better position both financially and emotionally than those that take their battle into the court room. Once you and your spouse decide that it is time for a divorce, and if you both agree, consider scheduling a consultation with a mediator before you dive into the litigation process!

If you would like more information about a healthy divorce, contact Dawn Clement at Dawn@ClementMediation.com to set up a consultation.

Dawn Clement
Attorney & Mediator
http://www.HealthyDivorcePA.com

Thinking about getting a divorce in Pennsylvania?

Three Simple Steps for a Healthy Divorce

Looking for a healthy and respectful divorce? Mediation can be a simple, cost effective 3 step process:

Meet

We meet for one or more mediation sessions to discuss important topics, such as the family home, bank accounts, vehicles and children. We simply gather around a table and have a conversation about the topics that are meaningful to you and your family. Your job is to talk to each other with the help of a neutral mediator and make decisions for you and your family.

Agree

Together, you will decide the circumstances and details of your divorce. You are able to make your own decisions based on terms that are fair to you.  Your interests are equally considered during the process and you are empowered to make decisions in the best interest of you and your family.  The terms of your agreement are then drafted, edited and finalized.

File

When you have reached a mutually satisfying agreement and you both are ready, the divorce can be filed. By mediating the terms of your agreement and working together through the process with the help of a mediator, your divorce can be a simple, healthy and respectful one!

If you would like more information about a healthy divorce, contact Dawn Clement at Dawn@ClementMediation.com to set up a consultation.

Dawn Clement
Attorney & Mediator
http://www.HealthyDivorcePA.com

 

 

 

 

Three Simple Steps for a Healthy Divorce

Q: Why Choose to Mediate? A: It’s simply smarter.

My first blog post highlighted why I left litigation to become a mediator. Today, I want to share with you why I think couples should try to mediate their divorce before rushing to court.

SAVE MONEY

If you were to google “How much does divorce cost?” You would probably see a range of prices from $15,000 to $50,000 or more. Divorce is expensive, but litigating a divorce will cost you big time. Lengthy court battles and attorney’s fees will affect your cash flow, which can be a burden on already financially strapped families.  Mediation can cost less than $5,000, quite a big savings for you and your family if you choose to work it out with a mediator.

SAVE TIME

Going to court takes time, scheduling court dates, attorney schedules and fighting can extend a divorce for years. A mediated divorce can be resolved in just a few sessions with a mediator, quickly and efficiently.

CHILD CENTERED

 Custody trials can be very hard on families, children are often used as pawns between the two fighting spouses. Courts often decide custody schedules that they feel are best for your family, leaving both parents to try to conform to a plan that just doesn’t work. Parents know what is best for your children, not a third party that has no clue what your family needs to function efficiently. Why leave such an important issue for a judge to decide? You and your spouse know your finances, work and school schedules the better than an outsider.

CONFIDENTIAL  

Mediation sessions are conducted in my private office, documents and conversations are confidential. On the other hand, if you choose to fight it out in court, your case becomes public, court employees, and other folks will hear your private family issues. No one wants to air their dirty laundry in court, where it becomes fodder for gossip and rumors. Protecting your reputation and your children’s problems from the community is a smart choice.

AMICABLE  

Couples that mediate tend to honor their agreements and end the relationship peacefully.  It’s OK if you and your spouse don’t really get along perfectly right now, you can still mediate your divorce.  Having a conversation about financial and parenting issues with your spouse and a trained mediator can help further facilitate communication now and even after the divorce is final.

Not every case can be mediated, if you are considering divorce please contact a qualified mediator for a consultation before you rush to court!

If you would like more information about a healthy divorce, contact Dawn to set up a consultation at Dawn@ClementMediation.com

Dawn Clement
Attorney and Mediator

http://www.HealthyDivorcePA.com

Q: Why Choose to Mediate? A: It’s simply smarter.