In the current economy you are probably looking for ways to save as much money as possible. Divorce can turn into an expensive process if you do not carefully weigh all your options. Emotions tend to run riot and people make very costly mistakes. Don’t be one of them…
To save money on your NY divorce:
- Determine whether you qualify for an uncontested divorce. This means that you and your soon to be ex-spouse are in agreement about (1) the reason you are getting divorced, (2) child custody issues (if you have children), (3) how you are going to split your things up, and (4) you or your soon to be ex have lived in New York for at least one year. Uncontested divorces are far cheaper than a contested divorce where you and ex duke it out in court.
- Don’t fall for the cheap divorce scam. Some scam artists and/or paralegals advertise that they help you file for divorce for as low as $99… Large legal document preparation companies claim that they will generate documents based on your answers for little money. In my experience, clients often get what they pay for. I’m not saying that you need to spend $2500 to file for a simple divorce, but please consider hiring an affordable divorce attorney to represent you. I have heard horror stories about the court rejecting people’s divorce papers, which ended up costing them far more money in the long run. You want an attorney on your side.
- File for divorce yourself. The New York State Unified Court System offers free forms and instructions on how to file for divorce on your own. BUT WAIT, even the courts website clearly warns that it is in your best interest to hire an attorney even if you think your divorce will be uncontested. There are a lot of very important issues to consider besides just filling out the court papers. A divorce attorney can guide you through these dangerous waters.
- Hire a well qualified legal document preparation firm. Although under New York law even a reputable NY legal document preparation firm cannot give you “legal advice,” it can give you a lot of valuable legal information. I always recommend trying to find a divorce attorney who is willing to prepare your divorce papers for you, rather than a paralegal for obvious reasons. This is one tactic to make your divorce more affordable. Yet, if you can stretch to hire an attorney, please do so for your own sanity and safety.