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You have a say in how expensive your divorce gets

Some unhappy couples "joke" that they only stay together because they're too poor to get divorced. Some couples really believe they can't afford to divorce.

All divorces carry some expense, but a divorce doesn't have to deplete your savings. It's up to you and your spouse how expensive your divorce will be.

The type of divorce process you choose makes a big difference in the price tag. Here in Tennessee, any couple who has a contested divorce is required to go through mediation. Many couples are able to resolve all of their issues in mediation. This can save them a significant amount of money.

Those who can't resolve everything in mediation can move on to a litigated divorce. However, the cost of those varies significantly. A relatively amicable divorce where a couple can arrive at settlements regarding property division, support and child custody matters together — with the help of their attorneys — will cost less in money and time than one where a judge has to settle these matters.

Spouses who are determined to "win" on every issue will drive up the cost of the divorce for both parties. Those who can prioritize what they want and be willing to compromise or even give their spouse what they're seeking in matters that aren't important to them can reduce the amount they spend in legal fees and court costs.

Even after the divorce is final, couples sometimes engage in expensive court battles over their custody and visitation plans and other matters because they can't resolve them on their own. Communication is essential, particularly if the divorced spouses are parents. Clear and civil communication can reduce conflict and disputes.

It's essential to find an attorney who understands and respects your wishes to minimize conflict (and expense) in your divorce. They can help you work with your spouse and their attorney to arrive at agreements that both of you can feel satisfied with as you begin the next phase of your lives.

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