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Why divorce can be costly

Divorces in Massachusetts could last months or even longer than a year while a couple tries to work out an arrangement for post-marital life. The process can also drag on when a couple must go to court for a judge to make determinations regarding child custody, alimony or property division. While dissolving a marriage can have high financial costs, there are ways to make divorce less expensive.

Though there are often many hurt feelings and emotional complications, a couple may have to work together when divorcing. An attorney at a family law firm in New Jersey estimated that an average couple might still pay between $15,000 and $20,000 in legal bills, and this is not because of exorbitant rates charged by lawyers. The same attorney said some divorces only cost $1,500 and are finalized within weeks, but these cases involve couples who are reasonable and can communicate with each other honestly.

When a couple decides to separate, each partner can start preparing to make the process easier. Each is expected to share a financial statement, and finalizing a divorce becomes more complicated and takes longer when one partner could be hiding income or assets. Many people work with a financial planner in addition to an attorney who can explain the financial ramifications of potential situations so that one can understand what a proposed settlement might entail before agreeing to it.

Many couples carry existing disputes with them into divorce proceedings, which only takes up time and makes the total cost of a divorce more expensive. When a couple has difficulty communicating, mediation could help a couple resolve conflicts. Mediation services are usually less expensive than other alternatives, but there are no guarantees with this process.

Source: CNBC, "How to get divorced without breaking the bank", Susan Caminiti, Feb. 9, 2015

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