Unless you’ve been closed off from television, social media, or other news sources for a bit of time, you’ve almost certainly heard about the dramatic price increases occurring throughout the U.S. today. According to the Consumer Price Index, Americans today are grappling with year-over-year increases which haven’t been seen in 40 years. In certain markets, such as gasoline, Americans are dealing with year-over-year increases which are upwards of 50% in many parts of the Country! As it stands now, the national average for one gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is roughly $4.67, far above the average of just one year ago. Other markets, such as housing, have also shown big increases on a year-over-year basis. The causation appears to trace back to numerous factors, but the two most frequently cited factors are the COVID-19 pandemic and the current conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
Given our current economic realities, many people are wondering: how can we minimize our costs in this inflationary environment? This concern also extends to those who are undergoing a divorce. In this post, we will highlight and discuss three ways to cut down costs in our inflationary crisis.
#1: Choose Mediation Over Litigation
When it comes to cutting costs in a divorce, few bits of advice are as valuable as the advice to avoid litigation and opt for mediation, whenever possible. Although mediation comes with a series of costs which typically cannot be avoided – mediator fees, expert fees, attorney fees, administrative fees, etc. – the costs of mediation are usually much, much lower when compared to litigation. When you litigate your disputes in a traditional courtroom environment, this will come with heftier attorney fees, as well as other hefty fees. Mediation will enable you to resolve disputes outside of the courtroom, and this nearly always produces a better financial result for the parties themselves.
#2: Create a Postnuptial Agreement When Possible
This only applies to those who haven’t yet initiated their divorce, but for those who haven’t filed their initial paperwork, developing a postnuptial agreement can be financially beneficial. The reason for this is because developing a postnuptial agreement can remove a lot of the arduous tasks involved in the property division process. When a couple fails to create such an agreement, this can translate into heavy professional fees and court costs, and so a postnuptial agreement can eliminate some of those costs. Again, this won’t be possible for everyone, but for those who’ve yet to file it can be very valuable advice.
#3: Don’t Prolong Disputes Longer Than Necessary
As strange as it may sound, in many divorce cases the parties actually drive up their fees needlessly because of spite, frustration, or some other unpleasant emotion. Spite, for instance, can lead some individuals to prolong disputes beyond what is necessary, and so the parties may end up incurring much larger bills than is justified based on the issues involved. To minimize costs, the parties should realize that they have a financial interest in resolving disputes as quickly as possible. If you hire multiple outside professionals, and spend many professional hours, to resolve a relatively simple issue, this can lead to an unnecessarily large bill.