Arianna Jeret lays out 12 of the many ways to ensure your divorce costs as much money as possible.
Over the years I have heard from countless people who would immediately divorce if it weren’t for fear of financial ruin.
I won’t sugar coat it. The amount of money it takes to support two households after divorce is always going to be higher than the amount of money it takes to support one during a marriage. That simply doesn’t mean it isn’t doable, and it doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it.
The average cost of a divorce in California was most recently estimated to be $95,000 total — $47,500 per spouse. In Los Angeles County, the average length of a litigated divorce (i.e., a traditional, courtroom-based with an attorney representing each spouse) is 3-4 years.
Those statistics are not only insane, they are entirely unnecessary.
And yet, I still regularly encounter individuals who will say in response, “I hear you, but I just want to make sure I get what I am entitled to. I don’t trust my spouse not to screw me over if we mediate.”
I am still unclear as to why anyone trusts an attorney they have never met, or an overwhelmed court system in which you are no more than another case number, not to try to screw them over any more than a spouse who has a mutual interest in making sure both of you and your children can all stay afloat following the divorce.
Since some people seem intent on fighting the good fight, I thought I would offer these 12 helpful tips for making sure your divorce is as lengthy and expensive as possible.
- Keep fighting for what is “fair.”
- No matter how comfortable you feel with a settlement proposal, refuse to accept it until your attorney agrees that you should.
- Demand that your ex run any and all parenting decisions by you until the children are past the age of 18.
- Insist that your ex undergo a vocational evaluation so you can pay the least amount of child and spousal support over the shortest time period possible.
- Do your best to ensure that all verbal agreements you and your ex made when during your marriage are honored, regardless of how the court would likely rule on any of the issues at hand.
- Refuse to settle on each aspect of your divorce agreements until your ex is willing to acknowledge your value, position, opinion, rights, etc.
- Withhold information requested by your spouse until he or she has agreed to do x, y, or z.
- Every now and then, attempt to “negotiate” with your spouse directly in order to save time and money.
- Assume that your spouse must be hiding money somewhere and hire a forensic accountant to identify the exact origin of every penny earned and spent by each of you, personally and professionally, over the course of your marriage.
- Engage a child custody evaluator to decide what is in the best interests of your children. Especially since this group of “professionals” is so well known for it’s ethical procedures, lack of bias, and clean personal backgrounds. Or not.
- Stay firmly entrenched in a belief or expectation of what you should get in your settlement, particularly as based on a friend’s divorce, an article you just read, or a calculator you found online.
- Decide that you just want to let the judge decide — despite the fact that in the majority of cases these days many judges simply scare both spouses into going back out into the hallway to come up with a settlement agreement anyway, resulting in a minimum of less than 5% of all cases ever seeing a direct order made by a judge.
Did you or your ex make sure your divorce was as expensive as possible? I would love to hear how!
Photo credit: Flickr/dsmQJd