EP 159: 4 Factors That Determine the Cost of Your Divorce

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“How much is my divorce going to cost?” 

This is one of the biggest questions people wonder about when going through a divorce. In this episode, we’ll talk about four factors that will affect the cost, some of which are out of your control.

  1. What you do during the process
  2. What your ex-spouse does during the process
  3. What your ex-spouse’s attorney does
  4. What the court does

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    You have control over your responses and decisions in the divorce process. If you are asked to complete a financial affidavit or if you are questioned in an interrogatory, you are responsible for answering truthfully. If you’re thinking about a settlement, you have to decide what issues are worth fighting for and what issues are worth letting go. This will have a significant impact on the cost of your divorce. Sometimes the smaller issues are worth letting go when you consider the big picture.

    This is something that you cannot control, but it will certainly affect the cost of your divorce. You may find that your ex-spouse is not truthful or forthcoming during the divorce process. They may omit certain facts, or they may outright lie about what happened in the marriage or their finances. You will have to follow up on those issues, and may even need to hire additional experts like forensic accountants or private investigators. If this is the case, your divorce process will be longer and more expensive.

    Earlier episodes of the podcast have discussed choosing an attorney, and why you should avoid an aggressive attorney. However, what if your spouse chooses to go that route? Aggressive attorneys lead to more unnecessary conflict, which adds to the expense of the divorce. If both your spouse and their attorney are disagreeable, you will have to spend time and money to deal with the additional conflict they create, even if you are ultimately in the right.

    Courts are tricky. Every court has different rules and procedures. For example, in Dallas, there are three counties within twenty miles. Each county’s courts have different procedures. If the court needs a status update on your case, one county might just ask for an email, while another requires your attorney to come to the court in person to provide a written and verbal update. Your attorney still has to draft the letter, but now they also need to take the time to go to the court and speak with the judge. This will impact your legal fees as you are paying for your attorney’s time.

    You will only have control over yourself. Unfortunately, you don’t have control over your ex-spouse, their attorney or the courts. However, you can make the best decisions possible for you given the circumstances. Focus on yourself, and making the best decisions possible with the information you have.

    Before you go, visit divorceandyourmoney.com:

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    Thank you for listening!

    Shawn Leamon, MBA, CDFA

    Dallas, Texas

    Shawn C. H. Leamon is Managing Partner of LaGrande Global, a firm that helps successful families manage large financial transitions like divorce, inheritance and selling a business.

    He earned his Bachelor of Arts from Dartmouth College, double majoring in Economics and Philosophy, and his Masters in Business Administration at Spain’s IE Business School.

    Before founding LaGrande Global, Shawn helped manage $1.1 billion in client assets at Bernstein Global Wealth Management. He also worked as a credit research analyst at J.P. Morgan. He is a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, and he has been an advisor to numerous high-stakes divorce cases.

    Shawn is the author of two well-received finance books: Managing Private Wealth: Principles, and Divorce and Your Money: The No-Nonsense Guide, both published in 2016.

    In his spare time, Shawn is an ultra-endurance athlete and has competed in events as long as 24 hours. He is an Eagle Scout and a member of the Alumni Board of Greenhill School.