The Not-So-Hidden Costs of Conflict in Divorce
Uncontested Divorce Mediation
Posted May 29, 2019
In Illinois, there are two ways to get a divorce. You can take it to a judge and fight over every detail, known as a “Contested Divorce”. Or you can take it to a mediator and work out everything before the paperwork sees a courthouse, known as an “Uncontested Divorce”.
Uncontested divorces in Chicago are easier and often faster, but they only work if the separating couple is willing to reach an agreement on all points. A contested divorce, on the other hand, is what we’ve come to expect from television dramas. Any time a couple wants to fight about whether they are getting divorced, how assets are separated, or child-related terms, then the divorce must go to court and each item decided on by a judge.
This involves months of lawyers fighting over numbers and details, months of court dates and public fighting. Needless to say, contested divorces also come with a not-so-hidden stack of costs. Some you may have considered or experienced already, and some that may surprise you.
The most obvious cost from months fighting over legal terms is lawyer fees. When a couple fights over a divorce, each ex must hire their own lawyer to represent their interests. The lawyers then alternate between trying to write terms with their clients and taking it to the mat in the courtroom. Every hour spend consulting, fighting, or filing your paperwork is a billable hour, and those costs can stack up.
If one ex does not have independent funds, the court may also require the couple to ‘share’ the total cost of lawyer fees.
If you’re taking issues into the courtroom to debate, you can also expect a handful of court fees to appear on your list of expenses. Running the courthouse is not free, and court fees are designed almost like a sales tax for using the court facilities. This is done through filing fees, meaning the more documents you need to file, the the more court fees will be paid. These fees apply whether you are filing paperwork to strengthen your own case or asking the court to force your ex to cooperate.
Lost Asset Value
While divorcees argue about terms, their property may be losing value. Particularly if there is a home sitting vacant, ready to sell but unsold, or a vehicle parked in an unprotected space. Stocks and investments rise and fall completely independent of a separating couple. But by fighting over who gets what and the percentage of each, you may miss your ideal moment to sell assets for the greater benefit of both parties.
Lost asset value is not something that happens in every protracted divorce, but there have been a number of cases where a home was damaged or a stock dropped in price that might have been sold for more if the couple was not fighting in court.
Therapy is seldom considered part of divorce costs, but it should Be. If your children are caught in the middle of a nasty fight between divorcing parents, they will likely need someone practical and trained to talk to about the feelings and experiences that are a result. And if you did anything you regret like screaming obscenities at your spouse or attacking weaknesses that you’re now ashamed of, you may choose to seek out post-divorce therapy as well. Unfortunately, good therapy isn’t free.
An uncontested divorce in Chicago is less likely to create intense unpleasant memories or leave anyone needing more than a little friendly counseling in the aftermath. While a contested divorce may lead to fighting over numbers and strife that doesn’t have to exist.
Lost Wages from Work Missed Hours
Fighting out a divorce in the courtroom is time-consuming. And not just that it will take months to complete. It also requires both exes to show up for court date after court date. Many divorcees going through a nasty contested divorce have to take time off of work to attend court or even to consult with their lawyer in preparation for court. Fighting in court can also be time-consuming as exes get lost in the heat of disagreeing with each other. Court dates can extend into new court dates and more work time missed.
This missed time can not only use up leave time and put your job on the rocks, it can also impact your finances during this critical and costly time. A divorce that takes a long time with many court dates and lawyer consultations can interrupt your work schedule and reduce your monthly income at a critical moment.
Living Costs During a Protracted Divorce
In order to be granted a divorce without ‘proving’ irreconcilable differences, you and your ex will need to live separately for six months. This will prove to the court that you are ready to live as singles and the divorce will be granted. So you move apart and start paying rent separately with the added expenses that entail. But if your uncontested divorce in Chicago takes longer than six months, then you are actually losing money by not having shared a household budget for slightly longer.
Alternately, some divorcees have opportunities and options waiting for them the moment the divorce is finalized. But the longer the divorce drags on, the greater your interim housing situation lasts which can stack up to real costs if not properly planned for.
Finally, there is the cost of childcare. Children are seldom welcome or happy in a courthouse and being in court or with lawyers can take up all of a divorcee’s time. After the divorce, there will be a custody agreement that helps both parents do their share to provide timely childcare and share in parenting duties. But for now, both parents are caught up in a vicious courtroom dispute with can mean paying for childcare for the entire duration of the uncontested divorce in Chicago.
Contact a Divorce Mediator in Chicago Today
Even if you are angry with your spouse, creating conflict during the divorce is not just more challenging, it’s also much more expensive. By working through your differences to file an uncontested divorce in Chicago, the two of you can be rid of each other sooner and minimize the stacking expenses of a protracted court house Illinois contested divorce. For more on how to build a satisfactory uncontested divorce agreement with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, contact Split Simple today. Chicago divorce mediation can help you through even the toughest divorce agreements.
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