Divorces can be simple, somewhat complicated or very complicated. At a time when more and more people want to “Do it Yourself”, some people seem to act as if their divorces were simpler than they are You have a simple divorce if the marriage is very short, there are no kids and almost no property has been acquired during the marriage.
If you have a long-term marriage, kids, retirement assets, investments, a house, other significant assets or debts, you have a somewhat- to very-complicated divorce. My suggestion is that you think long-term and get some help if you have a complicated divorce. You don't necessarily need all of the following in every case, but you should get whatever help will benefit you.
1. Attorney. If you are in the complicated category, you need an attorney. You want to get the paperwork right and you don't want to overlook or mishandle important legal issues. It's not such a great trade off to save money on the attorney fees initially, but then have to spend the money later trying to fix something.
2. Mediator. Mediation is a great process for resolving disputes. It is used in almost all divorces at some point. If you can't directly negotiate a settlement, which is normally the case, mediation gives you a safe, effective means to come to an agreement with the help of a neutral mediator. 3. Counseling. Sometimes, you can get back together through counseling, but more often the real value of counseling is that it can lead to peace. You can learn to live with your situation better and maybe avoid fighting with your ex. Counseling is a good investment for both parties, even if you're not “crazy”.
4. Financial Advisor. We use them in almost every Collaborative Law case, but they are also very helpful in litigated/negotiated divorces where there are retirement assets or other significant assets. Why not look for beneficial ways to divide things so you can save some money? Just splitting everything in half is often not the best result for both parties.
5. CPA. In many cases, it helps to have a CPA review a settlement proposal before it is locked down. There may be unexpected tax consequences or just a better way to do things that could save taxes. It's not very expensive to get peace of mind or possibly save some money.
There's no “one size fits all” solution for how to do a divorce. The amount and type of help you need depends on the circumstances of your case. If you don't have a simple divorce, you should consider the experts above and hire the ones who can help. It can save money and give you peace in the long run.