If you’re worried about the expenses that are going to be associated with your separation and divorce, this blog is for you. Our family lawyers in Perth have put together their personal tips on what to do if you can’t afford to divorce, to help you reduce your potential divorce costs.
Getting divorced is never a cheap experience. Even if you and your ex are amicable and can come to your own agreements without fighting it out through the Family Courts, there will always be legal fees to pay.
9 Tips If You Can’t Afford To Divorce
Review Your Finances
Your first step would be to carry out a thorough financial stocktake and draw up a budget of your projected life as a single person.
Once you have a list of assets and liabilities as well as all forms of income, you’ll have a true understanding of your current financial situation.
Cut Back On Expenses
Cutting back on your expenses is usually a good starting point when you can’t afford to divorce.
This can be done by looking at your budget and separating the expenses into essentials and luxuries – but you have to be honest with yourself when deciding what category your expenses fall into!
Focus solely on basic living expenses like rent or mortgage, groceries, utility bills and taking care of your children if that is the case. Nothing else is necessary right now.
Check if you’re able to temporarily cut down on any outgoings. Remember this is a temporary situation you’re in, and some expenses can be cut back just for a short period, and then you can look to reinstate these extra costs if you still need them.
Start A Savings Account
Whatever expenses you manage to cut back on, use them to start a savings account to go towards your upcoming divorce.
Consider selling off any unwanted assets adding the cash to your savings account too. Every little helps – from old toys your children no longer play with, to clothes you haven’t worn for months or kitchen gadgets that are still unopened and never will be! But remember – you should get advice before making decisions to sell significant assets, as this could have an impact on your property settlement.
Understand the Legal Process
Familiarise yourself with the legal process for your divorce in your state. This will give you a good indication of what you’re in for and the various options you may have, enabling you to plan correctly.
Try to anticipate whether your divorce will be amicable, complicated or highly contentious, all of which can decide which process will be the best or the cheapest for you.
Speak to a Financial Counsellor
Consulting a financial counsellor can help you work out your financial situation when you think you can’t afford to divorce. Financial counselling is a free and confidential service offered by many non-profit community organisations.
They can assess your current financial situation, give advice on what to do if you’re struggling with debts, help you work with debtors and government agencies and even refer you to other support services such as accommodation, legal and health services if you need them.
Find Out About Free Legal Advice
Fortunately, there several organisations in Australia that provide reduced-fee or even free legal advice and various services.
The Australian Family Court provides useful information, free procedural advice and a step-by-step guide on applying for divorce. They can also put you in touch with various community-based organisations as well as private lawyers that offer free advice and do pro-bono work for many people who can’t afford to divorce.
See If You Qualify For Reduced Court Fees
In some cases, you may qualify for reduced Court fees at the Family Court of WA. If you are experiencing financial hardship or meet the concession criteria, you can apply for a reduction or exemption for fees. Find out more on the Family Court website here.
Keep Things Amicable
The one thing that you can do to keep your legal costs to a minimum is for you and your spouse to remain as amicable as possible during your divorce process.
The more terms you can agree on, the quicker and the cheaper the divorce will be for you both.
Consider Family Mediation
For the cheapest way of divorcing, consider family mediation. Being the quickest, least stressful and the most successful way of divorcing it is also the cheapest by far. As opposed to going through the Courts where each party pays the costs of their own lawyer, in family mediation both parties share the costs of the mediation.
Mediators do not take sides, instead offer legal guidance to both parties, offering solutions to their disputes, encouraging them to reach their own agreement suited specifically to their family’s needs.
Still think you can’t afford to divorce? Did you know we offer a free 15-minute information call so you can find out more about how we might be able to help you get divorced? Book yours here now.