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How to save money on your divorce

Nearly 50 percent of marriages in America end in divorce, but not everyone who seeks to leave their spouse has the cash for a lengthy trial featuring a team of highly paid attorneys.

That doesn't mean that you can't come to a reasonable and affordable settlement regarding the splitting of assets and child custody while watching your pennies - and making sure your interests are protected.

Stick to a budget

In any divorce, you face the expense of setting up a second household while working through the divorce. Don't start spending money you don't have on needless extras while nit-picking your way through the division of assets. Set a monthly budget for usual expenditures and stick to it. Your bank account will thank you after it is all over.

Mediation instead of litigation

Do your best to stay out of court. Mediated divorce is the most cost-effective way to file. With a realistic and calm approach to the proceedings, you and your spouse can come to an agreement on splitting up property, financial assets and custody without direct participation of a judge.

It is still best to hire a lawyer for advice and to review the papers before filing them to prevent any obvious or potentially costly errors. If discussions between the two of you are not moving forward, consider hiring an arbitrator to assist you in coming to a mutual decision. They can provide advice without emotional involvement.

Save time for your lawyer

If you are working with an attorney, understand that their time is your money. Instead of putting them on speed dial and peppering them with constant questions, take notes of your concerns and make one call a week.

If you need to send paperwork to the lawyer's office, ask how it should be organized before turning it over. You can sort through your personal information much faster and it won't cost you a penny. Work with your attorney to resolve as much of the divorce as possible before filing for a court date. Every minute you wait at the courthouse to hear your case, the attorney's fees continue to grow.

Don't do it yourself

Deciding not to hire any legal assistance may sound budget friendly at the beginning, but too much is at stake. You and your spouse may make serious errors. Those errors could prove costly. Some could send you back into court, hiring more attorneys and paying additional fees above and beyond what you would have paid for legal help in the first place. Some could result in harm to your finances, like leaving yourself too little in terms of liquid assets. Some can't be fixed at all. Seeking the assistance of an attorney well versed in family law is a smart and economical decision.

Divorce can be emotionally draining at the best of times. It doesn't have to empty your bank account too.

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