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Saving money when a marriage ends

When a long-term marriage ends in Massachusetts or across the nation, one person might need to pay spousal support, especially if there is a significant discrepancy in the earnings between the two. Even when alimony is a likely factor, the other party might contest it. However, the expenses and related legal fees needed to do this might be prohibitive and could wind up costing the parties more than the actual spousal support.

Even when the joint assets in question are for a couple of average means, they could still easily amass as much as $20,000 in lawyers' fees. One way to plan for a less expensive divorce is for the couple to be reasonable with each other. They should focus on honest and open communication, calm discussions and avoiding conflict over trivial issues. Legal fees for this type of divorce would probably run an estimated $1,500.

Several other mistakes can drastically increase legal expenses at the end of a marriage. The couple should not argue over minor parenting matters but should focus on the big picture. They should both be flexible about their positions and realize that their attorney is not a counselor. They also need to take personal responsibility for their finances.

During a divorce, emotions and stress are understandably high. The parties might be very subjective about the process and struggle with letting go. Consulting an outside party can help an individual look at the situation objectively. A family lawyer might offer strategic counsel to a client when a marriage ends in order to help them avoid focusing on trivial matters and accelerate the divorce process.

Source: Today Money, "How to get divorced without breaking the bank," Susan Caminiti, Feb. 9, 2015

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