Getting divorced and creating custody arrangements is often stressful and expensive. Court fees, lawyer fees, and the division of assets will all add up, leaving you feeling broken and broke.
If you are going through a divorce and you are trying to determine custody, you do have some options when it comes to lowering the cost of the process. Instead of sticking with an expensive divorce lawyer, check out some of these low-cost solutions for custody arrangements.
Create your own custody arrangement.
If you and your ex are still in good terms, the best solution for you both in order to save money on a custody arrangement is to create your own. Before you sit down with your ex and start writing out the details, it’s important to first educate yourself on the jurisdictions and laws within your state regarding child custody, and then take this into consideration before creating the final agreement. The clerk of court in your state or online legal services can help you find a sample custody agreement that you and your ex can use as reference while creating your own. Once you and your ex have created the agreement, you will both need to sign it and file it with the court. Once this is done, a judge will review your document and either issue a legal order reflecting your agreement or reject the agreement (or certain sections).
Hire a Mediator
Another low-cost solution to custody arrangements is hiring a mediator. In fact, some states actually require that a couple go through mediation first before taking any custody arrangements to court. A mediator is a neutral third-party that is designated to help you and your spouse reach a custody agreement that satisfies you both. A mediator will cost less money than a divorce lawyer, and they can provide valuable, non-biased insight to help both you and your spouse come to a legal resolution.
Consider Collaborative Divorce
A collaborative divorce will cost much less than actually going to court. With a collaborative divorce, you, your ex, and your respective lawyers or a family advocacy service get together to work out the agreement together. This is different than a typical divorce because it allows you and your spouse to work through everything together instead of giving the final say to the judge. Not only do you both get to speak your mind and work out the details that best work for you both, but you also eliminate a large number of court and legal fees. In fact, aside from filing fees, you’re typically only on the hook to pay for the fees charged by your lawyer, which can be a major savings during the divorce. And since most law firms will assign a paralegal or junior associate to work collaborative divorce cases, the lawyer fees are much less expensive.
Getting divorced and working through custody arrangements already adds stress to your life. Don’t feel the need to empty your bank account during the process as well.