Despite how common it is to get divorced, many people still shudder at the thought of it. Even if you agree on all the important parts of a divorce (child custody, alimony, and property division), it can still cost a pretty penny.
Filing for divorce in South Carolina costs $150. The couple will need to pay an additional $25 fee if a temporary hearing is required. So right away, before you have hired an attorney or looked at new living arrangements, you already have to spend at least $175.
In order to file for divorce in South Carolina, at least one of the spouses must have lived in the state for at least one year. If neither spouse has, both spouses must have been residents of the state for at least three months. This could potentially require relocation costs, as well as first and last month’s rent as a security deposit for a new home. You may also need to send your children to daycare if there is no one home to watch them, which is another hidden cost of divorce, or buy health insurance.
Litigation can be time consuming and expensive
If you are able to agree on the major issues in a divorce, the process can be completed within a few months. However, a contested divorce can drag on for more than a year, increasing the cost exponentially. This is because litigation is a costly endeavor no matter what area of law you need. There are:
- Filing fees
- Attorney fees
- Discovery costs
- Expenses for financial experts
How can I reduce the expenses of my divorce?
There are ways to reduce the costs associated with divorce. Here are a few suggestions.
- Listen to the advice of your attorney. You hired a divorce attorney for a reason – because we know the law, and what you can reasonably expect to retain. Our office spends hours working on our clients’ cases, working on negotiations that can reduce the need for litigation. Trust us; we are operating in good faith when it comes to you and your children.
- Stay organized. Organization plays a big role in the cost of a divorce. Failing to know when filing deadlines are can cost you more in filing fees. Ask your attorney for the deadlines in South Carolina and write them down on a calendar. Schedule reminders on your phone and try to file all of the required paperwork well ahead of the deadlines. If you make an appointment, be on time and bring all the requisite documentation. Most important? Respond when we call or text you. Often, if we are reaching out to you directly, it is to update you on your status and let you know what we need to proceed. If you do not respond to us, we cannot move forward, which can and will delay your case.
- Give mediation a chance. So many divorces will drag on because the spouses refuse to work with each other when it comes to dividing property, agreeing on alimony, or determining child custody. A little bit of give and take between you and your spouse will go a long way towards keeping the cost of divorce as low as possible because you can avoid litigation.
- Take advantage of the benefits of the whole legal team. Paralegals are employed by attorneys to assist with family law cases. Take advantage of paralegals when you have questions about the divorce process, filing paperwork, and other issues. A paralegal can help you without having to talk directly with your attorney when it isn’t necessary, which can save you some time and money.
- Be honest. Be honest with us and with yourself about what is important to you. If you do not care about the art collection but will not budge on who keeps the cat, that is critical information for us to know. (It may also give your financial experts some pause, depending on the worth of the collection.) Whatever you do, do not hide assets, or lie about your spending habits. Trust use when we say that we have seen it all, and we do not judge our clients. But you can waste value time and money if you try to hide things from your attorney.
A quick note about attorney fees for divorce
One of the primary assumptions people make is that their divorce attorney is trying to “clean them out,” so to speak. Here is the truth: litigation takes a lot of work, and the more complex your finances are, the more time it will take to untangle them. If your primary goal is to simply get as much as you can without compromise, that is going to be a costly endeavor. Divorce attorneys bill for their time just as every other service does, and the more you demand, the more money it costs.
What we have discovered, though, is that most of our clients simply want to move forward with their new lives. Many are inclined to say “yes” to bad deals just to get the process over more quickly. We understand that desire, but we cannot condone it. Once the divisions are made and your decree is final, there are no more chances to get a fair shake. So we will discourage a hasty agreement if we think it is not in your best interest, and we will encourage you to review that agreement to make sure you are really, truly satisfied with what you have.
Making the decision to file for divorce is not easy. At Holland Law, LLC, your divorce lawyer works with you throughout the entire divorce process and guides you towards the best possible resolution. Call our offices in For Mill or Rock Hill at 803-219-2630 or complete our contact form to schedule a consultation. We proudly serve clients in York, Chester, and Lancaster Counties.
Tom Holland previously served as the General Counsel for the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office, the City Solicitor for the City of Lancaster, and as a Special Assistant United States Attorney for the Sixth Circuit Solicitor’s Office. He is a single father, and through his own divorce gained valuable insight he now uses to provide Fort Mill and Rock Hill, SC families with the best representation. Learn more about Tom Holland.