Monday, July 19, 2010

How much will my Divorce cost?

Every divorce case is different and every case will therefore have different costs. For instance, if you are Tiger Woods your costs could include the loss of endorsement deals, in addition to the more typical costs of attorney's fees, alimony, etc. And that's not even taking into account whether or not you think his poor playing of late is also caused by the stress of his divorce.

To generalize for those of you who are not billionaire celebrities, though, I can tell you that there will still be significant costs to getting divorced and they will include:

1. The Emotional Cost: Divorce is often described as the second most stressful event in a person's life (next to the death of a loved one). We can't ignore that stresses in our life have a cost on our daily productivity, our ability to be optimistic, and our availability to deal with other stressful events. This cost is often best addressed through therapy or family support, and just because it can't be fixed through the legal process doesn't mean it should be ignored.

2. The Financial Cost: The financial price of your divorce has two parts: the cost of splitting up joint finances, and the actual price you will pay to become divorced.

2a. Joint Finances -> Individual Finances: It is a simple fact that it costs more to support two households than one. Whether or not your case warrants child support or alimony, there will still be a cost to dividing up the assets and liabilities that you and your spouse shared during the marriage. Many people will need to learn how to manage their finances, because this is something that their spouse used to do. Even if you helped manage the finances, you will need to consider how your budget will have to change now that you only have access to a portion of the assets you once did. This should include changing how you plan for retirement. All of this begins with a true, accurate and complete Financial Statement. A good Financial Statement is not just a tool for the Court, but can also help you and your attorney figure out how you will meet your budget as a single person.

2b. The Pricetag: And finally, the most obvious cost of divorce is the actual out-of-pocket cost to obtain the Judgment of Divorce. In Massachusetts, the Filing fee for divorce is currently $215 ($200 + $15.00 surcharge), and an additional $5 for the Summons if you filed a Complaint for Divorce instead of a Joint Petition.

In addition to the filing fee, if you hire an attorney their rates and fees can vary greatly. I always recommend that my potential clients interview multiple attorneys. Although cost is certainly one factor, it is my opinion that trust is the most important factor when interviewing an attorney. If you can't trust your attorney, then they won't be able to do their job and you will end up spending more money in the long run anyway.

To learn more about what we charge for Divorce, call Attorney Justin L. Kelsey, Esq. at (508) 655-5980 or click here to schedule a one-hour consultation.

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