How to cut costs, get, and save, every penny in your divorce

  1. The first step is to understand that disagreement is expensive. So the first rule is to agree as quickly as possible about as much as possible.
  2. Do it yourself. If you are reasonably intelligent, you often can do the divorce yourself and avoid the expensive lawyers fees.
  3. If you are doing it yourself, there  are a lot of low cost books on of the steps you need to take. Check out books like “Divorce for Dummies.”
  4. If you hire a lawyer, negotiate a fixed price and pay all up front. Do not go the hourly fee route.
  5. Try to get free legal help from Legal Aid or one of those social legal services if you can.
  6. Research low cost websites that offer divorce services on line and can do your paperwork (assuming you don’t have a lot of assets or big disagreements about your stuff) for very low fees as compared to a divorce lawyer.
  7. If you must have a lawyer, research lawyers who are recently admitted to the bar. They are hungry, have to prove themselves and would likely charge much lower fees than more established lawyers.
  8. If the case is contested, opt to mediate rather than litigate. Or try a “collaborative” divorce.
  9. Do like Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin: Consciously uncouple. This takes longer and it is not appropriate for every couple but gently withdrawing and slowly disentangling has its advantages and will likely save you money in the long run.
  10. Divorce but don’t immediately sell the house and all the assets. If your situation allows, keep joint ownership and wait for the best market conditions to sell to maximize the amount of money you get.