Social Question

jca2's avatar

How did you finance your divorce?

Asked by jca2 (15903points) February 27th, 2023

This is not something I’m experiencing, as I’m not getting a divorce because I’ve not ever had the pleasure or the pain of being married.

A friend is going through a divorce. They’re in the early stages of it, but already, she has spent 5k on her attorney and her husband has spent over 7k on his attorney. They have some property and one of them has a pension and one of them works, but they quickly spent down the money in the accounts, paying the attorneys, the mortages and then the husband signed a lease on a fancy apartment. She is in her early 70s so she won’t be working a whole lot longer.

Since the accounts are now spent down and all the household bills have to be paid, along with the two attorneys’ fees, which are paid out of the joint account, my friend is wondering how people actually pay for their divorces. The husband’s attorney fees are higher than my friend’s because apparently he is talking to his attorney more than she is.

How does it work when one spouse’s attorney is more than the other attorney?

One of my friends got divorced recently but it wasn’t contentious so they used a mediator, which in total cost them about 7k. I understand that’s pretty inexpensive as far as divorces go.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

27 Answers

janbb's avatar

I would answer if I could but I honestly can’t remember what it cost or how we each paid it. I know we used a collaborative law procedure in which we each had our own lawyer but there was an agreement we would not go to trial so it was somewhat more reasonable but still costly.

janbb's avatar

PS I just tried to look up our old Quicken account but it got bogged down so no luck there. My current accounts would not show the cost.

chyna's avatar

We didn’t use a lawyer. We both agreed on everything and had a do it yourself divorce. We had a house and bills and two cars, but worked it out ourselves, got the paperwork from the county clerks office, saw a judge and it was over. I think with the paperwork and to see the judge it was under 500.00.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

You should try not to use a lawyer if you don’t have to. They’ll flat out steal like 30% of your wealth during a divorce. I have seen it happen to people. The ones that work it out among themselves fare so much better, to the point where there are no real divorce “bills” just splitting up assets.

I have never had a divorce and don’t plan to but if it ever happens, I won’t lawyer up unless it’s is a last resort.

janbb's avatar

@Blackwater_Park Everybody’s case is a different situation.

filmfann's avatar

My wife and her first husband owned a home. He took loans against the house, and paid his lawyer with it. My wife had to get a free lawyer, which was worth every penny, but no more.

smudges's avatar

The first time my father paid for it – $300. I don’t think he was happy that I was getting divorced, but he wasn’t crazy about the guy from day 1.

The second time, ex and I worked it out. He kept the travel trailer and the payments, he gave me half of what we had paid for the house and land, we each kept our own things, and he filed. I suppose he had to pay a fee of some type to…the clerk of courts, maybe? $50 or so maybe?

@jca2 I feel badly for your friend. It’s not fun to end a relationship, but I’ve never imagined someone divorcing so late in life, tbh. Were they together for a long time?

jca2's avatar

@smudges They were together for about 30 years but he has had ongoing personal issues with his sexuallity, which are not compatible with being in a heterosexual relationship, so he decided that even though it’s late in life, he wants to be his true self. My friend was very tolerant of him and his actions, and she looked the other way for a lot of it, but he decided he wants to be free of his marriage so he can do his thing, while he has maybe ten years tops left to do it.

smudges's avatar

@jca2 awww…I understand his desire, but it’s sad – for her, and just in general. I hope they both find some happiness. 30 years is a very long time – a lifetime.

My aunt and uncle were married for 19 years and had 2 children. After the kids grew up he said he was gay and the marriage ended. It destroyed my aunt; she’s never been the same even though she married two more times – both disasters, one was to an unknown-to-her pedophile who’d been abusing his children. Now, she and the first ex are friendly; live many miles apart, but keep in touch. sorry, your post made me think of it

jca2's avatar

@smudges My friend is now looking at all kinds of things in her relationship with this person and wondering if it was all a lie. She feels very deceived. I feel like he saw her as a meal ticket to a better life, because she was a hard worker and good wage earner, and so with her he got to live in a big house and all that, and in the meantime he continued to do his thing.

smudges's avatar

^^ Oh! Well that’s a different story. It makes me sick that she’s 70 and dealing with this. She should be enjoying her life and the fruits of her labor.

JLeslie's avatar

I had a friend who was a divorce lawyer and she would tell her clients they should agree on splitting 50/50, or whatever the law dictates, because in the end they will have to follow the law if they are in disagreement, and the longer they fight the more money she makes. She charged $5k as the initial fee back many years ago.

Not every state is a 50/50 state. Even when it’s a 50/50 state people can fight over who gets what obviously. I googled and NY is not a 50/50 state.

My roommate when I was in my early 20’s was coming off of a divorce when she moved in with me. The whole thing was a few hundred dollars. I actually went to the judge’s chambers with her to be the witness in her divorce. He made much more than her, but she wasn’t asking for much of anything, she wanted the divorce.

If your friend’s husband was after her money to begin with, then it isn’t surprising she needs to lawyer up. I’m assuming they don’t have children since you didn’t mention any. I know in FL if you have children divorces take longer, and can be more expensive.

jca2's avatar

@JLeslie They don’t live in NY. They have adult children so custody is not an issue for them, which is one less problem to deal with.

She came into the marriage with a chunk of money that they put down on the house, so she’d like that back, plus she got another chunk along the way, plus she’s been working all this time, sometimes seven days a week, while he’s been retired 12 years from age 60 with a modest pension. I never saw him as a bad person but I do now – selfish and cunning, plus champagne taste on a beer budget.

JLeslie's avatar

@jca2 It sucks when the breadwinner has to pay out a lot to their spouse when the spouse is the one breaking up the marriage.

Is the house in both their names? I wonder how the court will look at the down payment part.

I have a friend who has already spent $20k on a lawyer because her ex boyfriend is suing her for half the value of her Florida house. She paid for the whole thing, but she foolishly put it in both their names. He left her for another woman! The gall he has is unbelievable. They had been together seven years and she owned that house just short of 3 years.

Did your friend keep the additional chunk of money in her own account or a joint account? If it was an inheritance kept in an account only in her name he probably won’t be able to get that money.

If she has been contributing to a 401k all this time, he’ll probably get part of that. Is he asking for alimony?

jca2's avatar

Their two properties are in both their names. She put the additional chunk of money into the joint account and they used it to pay bills. He has the pension which by law, she is enttitled to half of. He’s not asking for alimony.

JLeslie's avatar

@jca2 I think he might get part of the chunk of money. I’d be curious to know if he gets half the value of the houses.

Is she very upset about the break up aside from the money? I haven’t been through a divorce, but I can only try to imagine how emotionally difficult it is. They were married a long time and she’s no spring chicken. I feel for her.

jca2's avatar

She is very upset and talks about him constantly. I’m sure he’s not talking about her constantly. I want to tell her it’s time to not focus on him but she would get mad if I said that.

NoMore's avatar

Never been through one.

zenvelo's avatar

My divorce was quite contentious: my ex wanted me to not have any visitation despite her being the one that Child Protective Services said need to have supervised visitation. My ex decided to use money as a lever to get her way.

I spent close to $50,000 on a lawyer because she kept taking his time. So I dropped the lawyer and represented myself in court. I then had to pay for a court mandated psychological evaluation on the bets custody arrangement. That was another $10,000.

I paid for it by depleting my retirement savings. Not the best way to spend my golden years.

Dig_Dug's avatar

I have the BEST advise as to saving BIG money on divorce, don’t get married.

JLeslie's avatar

@Dig_Dug Over time, if assets get commingled and you live together, you can still wind up in court like my girlfriend who I mentioned above. Some states even have common law marriage, but it’s hard to prove.

@zenvelo Wow. Sorry you went through that.

@jca2 I would think it’s pretty normal to be a mess and be obsessing about him for a good four to six months, if not longer if it drags out legally. Maybe she’ll get really angry fast and move through the grieving stages quickly.

Forever_Free's avatar

Proceeds from the sale of the marital home. I put a 5K retainer down with an agreement that if it went past that then it would come from the proceeds. My only aim was full custody which is what the outcome was. The $$$ didn’t matter to me compared to any child’s wellbeing.

janbb's avatar

Thinking about it, I suspect ours was about $12,000 – $14,000 total for both sides. We didn’t have custody issues as the kids were grown up but there were a lot of issues like the house, a business we were partners in, and life insurance and IRAs to work out. I was glad we had the guidance of lawyers and feel that I came out well financially from the process – and he wasn’t in bad shape either.

@jca2 I agree with @JLeslie that it takes a long time to get over a divorce and that your friend may be obsessing about it for quite a while. Hopefully, she is also taking steps to rebuild her life but everyone goes through things their own way. The best you can do for her is be a listener.

RocketGuy's avatar

My uncle had a contentious divorce. He sold his condo in Hawaii to finance it. Judge ordered it to pay lawyers for both sides. Then ordered them to split the value of their house in San Diego.
:( The could have both come out with property if not for her greed.

JLeslie's avatar

Sometimes the money is a way to get back at a spouse, especially a cheating spouse.

jca2's avatar

Someone told my friend that if it’s contentious, it can take a few years and the judge is not likely to kick her out of her house just yet, so she’s taking her time getting stuff done to prepare for a move, but in the meantime, the attorneys’ fees are constant and the hubby is off to his new luxury apartment which he is paying for, too.

JLeslie's avatar

@jca2 It’s really upsetting that he just moved on like that. Ugh. Too bad she didn’t have a pre-nup, but maybe their financial situations weren’t so different when they were first dating.

Answer this question




to answer.
Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther