As I'm sure you could imagine, the attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, represent all sorts of people going through divorces. We have clients who have a lot of money and no children. We have clients with a little bit of money and many kids. We have clients who have been married for forty years who have decided to get a divorce. We have clients who have been married for forty months and want to get a divorce.
My point is that every divorce is different and unique from one another. Suppose you are contemplating a divorce or have just been served with divorce papers from your spouse. In that case, you probably realize that your subject looks different than your friend's divorce from two years ago or neighbor's whose divorce case began at the beginning of the year.
Most divorces, fortunately, do not take more than six months. These are cases where many of the issues are already agreed upon between spouses, and it just takes some negotiation to get their chance to the point of a fair and equitable settlement. This means that a trial is unnecessary and that the time/money commitment is not as significant. However, you may be asking yourself, could your divorce be the exception to this rule?
Money is essential- there is no denying that.
The costs associated with your divorce case are essential. It's not even worth trying to deny this. The longer your case goes, the more money you will spend on it. With that said, I probably could have titled this blog post, "What issues keep your divorce case active the longest?" Just like in any other area of life, we want to spend our resources efficiently so that they yield the best results for us.
What factors in your divorce can drive up the total cost? The Law Office of Bryan Fagan would like to share with you our thoughts on that subject in today's blog post.
Measure the temperature of the disagreement between you and your spouse
Is there an intense custody issue brewing in your divorce? Is there a dispute between you and your spouse regarding property and whether or not it should be considered a community or a part of one of your separate estates? If so, then you may be in for a long, messy divorce.
If you and your spouse cannot agree on who should be named the primary conservator of your child and how rights and duties should be divided between the two of you, then you all have a textbook case that could go the distance in terms of case length. A trial is not out of the question despite your likely having to attend mediation at least twice before getting there. I'm not at all trying to say that arguing over which parent has the superior/independent right to make medical decisions is not worthwhile. Still, I am discussing the point that this will cost you a significant amount of money in the long run.
Sometimes you can be well justified in trying to restrict your spouse's future possession of your child and their ability to make decisions on your child's behalf. For instance, if your spouse has a history of family violence (whether or not there are criminal charges along with those acts of violence) could show that they have an account of making wrong decisions that do not have your child's best interests at heart.
My point is that people like yourself often have legitimate concerns with their spouses and vice versa. These concerns and disagreements can lead to a great deal of animosity, which leads to divorce trials, the appointment of ad litem attorneys, and other circumstances that will invariably increase the cost of your case.
Your finances can dictate how long and how expensive your divorce is
If you find yourself in a divorce where there is a great deal of property at stake or assets that require experts to come in and provide a valuation, then you are setting yourself up for an expensive divorce case. Consider how you can value revenue, inventory, the goodwill that your business has acquired, and the names associated with running the business. This isn't easy to do, and there is more than one way to go about doing so. Issues regarding the sale and division of passive financial assets like retirement accounts are also relevant factors in divorces that can increase the cost of your case.
Even relatively straightforward financial issues regarding the sale of a home or the division of personal property can come with disputes and differences of opinion.
What role does the family court play in your divorce?
A judge will only become involved in your case when you and your spouse cannot resolve your differences of opinion between one another. The court's role is not to intercede and provide you with its idea without asking for it. Ignore what television and the movies say. Your friends' horror stories of what a divorce is likely will never come to be in your case. If it does come to be, however, it will almost surely increase the costs of your case a great deal.
You and your spouse likely have a great many issues that have driven you to the point of divorce. I am not here to tell you that those concerns are not legitimate or worth discussing. However, if you plan to take your case to trial so that these issues can be aired for all the world to hear, I have to tell you that you are unlikely to get the response you are looking for.
Many clients I have represented initially told me that they want the world to be aware of just how evil, conniving or dishonest their spouse is. That is all well and good, but ultimately the reason to go to trial is to get a final decision on your divorce when you and your spouse cannot agree to the terms of your division from one another martially. To get to the point where you can air your grievances publicly, you are bypassing a time for you and your spouse to agree to the terms of your divorce as well as an opportunity to save a great deal of money and time.
If it's "my way or the highway," you are in for a long and expensive divorce.
Despite the narratives in media and other places, attorneys are usually not the ones who drive up the costs of a divorce. We typically take the position that we will be prepared if and when a trial is necessary, but we are supportive of clients mediating and settling their divorce with their spouse. This way, you can save money, time and usually arrive at a better resolution than you would be able to in court. Consider this: who knows you, your spouse, your children, and your property between you and your spouse? The judge indeed doesn't.
If you are approaching your divorce with an attitude that you will dictate all the terms of your divorce, you are in for a long and expensive case. Settlement demands that you and your spouse meet in the middle- or at least close to it- on the issues that are contested. If you are fighting just for the sake of fighting, you will see to it that your case never settles and ends up costing you much more money in the long run.
Tomorrow's blog post will discuss more expenses associated with divorce cases.
If you are interested in reading more about factors that can increase the cost of your divorce case, then please consider contacting the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, today. We offer free of charge consultations six days a week with one of our licensed family law attorneys. It would be an honor to meet with you to discuss your situation and help you and your family.