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3 tips to avoid lengthy negotiations that drive up divorce costs

A divorce in Georgia requires legal filings and a final agreement that addresses finances, property, and child custody when applicable. Because lawyers bill for their work by the hour, the more time a splitting couple takes to reach a final agreement the more money the process costs.

The difficult emotions that often accompany divorce sometimes interfere with a timely completion of the legal process. Stories of couples wrangling over money and child custody are not infrequent. Prolonged negotiations between each person's lawyers can add many billable hours. It is possible for a divorce to cost $15,000 to $20,000.

These costs can be controlled when people avoid typical pitfalls. Disputes about small parenting details should be avoided. Ideally, each parent will be flexible and quickly agree to issues like visitation schedules, payment for a child's Internet bill or who takes the child to soccer practice.

People should also prepare their financial records and be ready to make decisions about dividing assets. Arguing about small amounts of money will only add to legal fees. Save prolonged negotiations for when the financial stakes are high.

Another costly mistake is to regard a lawyer as a therapist. Venting frustration about the other spouse to a lawyer adds time to each meeting. To use the time efficiently, sticking to the facts is recommended. When decisions can be made quickly, a divorce might cost as little as $1,500.

Although some divorces can be achieved without the work of lawyers, many people choose to consult with a divorce lawyer so that their interests will be supported in the final agreement. A lawyer might be able to advise someone about his or her rights during property division and child support.

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