For those in higher income brackets, the cost of divorce may be a driver to keep a marriage together. This is not to say they cannot afford it, but there is a fear that a divorce will substantially lower one’s cost of living.
Is cost a valid fear?
Unless a married couple is extremely wealthy (hundreds of millions of dollars or more), the costs of divorce can absolutely be a valid fear. The costs just to value big-ticket items, like artwork, businesses, antiques, etc. can be significant. That bill only grows when one starts hiring CPAs, financial consultants, teams of attorneys, etc. For an extremely valuable, but illiquid, estate, millions can quickly become hundreds of thousands, especially if there is a market downturn or the spouses are unable to sell or share valuable property. So, the question becomes, “How can we reduce costs?”
Of course, if there is a prenuptial agreement, the divorce process will be much less expenses, especially if neither party want to fight its enforceability. Though, a couple can still save a significant amount of money by just working together prior to contacting attorneys.
First, this means agreeing that a divorce is in the best interests of both spouses. And, second, this means agreeing to work for the best possible future for both spouses. Then, the spouses should begin to outline what they can agree on, before contacting the attorney. This is most helpful as it relates to the highest value items, like homes and businesses, but also child related issues, like visitation, custody, support, etc. Remember, for every hour a couple can spend solving problems between themselves, that is one less hour needed to pay a team of lawyers and experts.
Where agreement cannot be reached, it is time to bring in a Westchester or White Plains, New York, lawyer. This can be through mediation, collaborative law or even, arbitration. This is when the expenses start, but if a couple has agreed to work together and avoid litigation, then the cost of the divorce will be significantly reduced, leaving more money for spouses to start their new lives.