3 “Hidden Expenses” That Can Drive Up the Cost of Your Divorce
Many people are shocked at how quickly the expenses can add up when going through separation and divorce. In large part, this surprise is often a result of unrealistic expectations. Whether due to not asking the right questions, talking to the wrong people, or relying too heavily on the internet for information, the ultimate result is that many people feel misled or misinformed about the cost of divorce in Howard County, Maryland.
As discussed in a previous blog post, the reality is that the process of separation and divorce is not always clearly defined. The cost of divorce in Howard County, Maryland is dependent upon a large number of factors, many of which are nearly impossible to anticipate in advance.
Separation and divorce can involve events that can quickly become very expensive. While it is impossible to predict your exact cost of divorce in Howard County, Maryland, knowing about the “hidden costs” of divorce can help you be so better informed and prepared.
Cost of Divorce in Howard County, Maryland: 3 “Hidden” Expenses
1. Attitude Toward Divorce Settlement:
The good news is, there is a relatively quick and easy way to minimize the cost of divorce in Howard County, Maryland if the parties are cooperative and work together to reach agreement – especially with the new Mutual Consent divorce law in Maryland. The bad news is that cooperation is fairly rare between divorcing couples.
Many times, people enter into the divorce process in Howard County with the expectation and intention of handling everything amicably, only to find that things escalate and turn hostile quickly. Emotion can cloud the judgment of even the most rational person, and often gets in the way of making good decisions. All too frequently, divorcing spouses end up spending significant sums of money fighting over fairly insignificant things out of anger and spite.
2. Divorce Hearings:
Each court hearing is expensive. Your lawyer has to file papers related to the hearing. They have to prepare for the hearing and go to the hearing, or trial, with you. It’s a very expensive process. Sometimes, hearings are necessary; often they are avoidable if the parties are willing to work together to reach agreement, as discussed in #1.
3. The Discovery Process:
In litigation, when preparing for trial, divorce attorneys conduct what’s generally known as “discovery.” Discovery is the exchange of information relevant to the issues in dispute between the divorcing parties and their lawyers. The discovery process typically includes things like written questions known as “interrogatories” and requests for documents and other information. Discovery can also include depositions of each party and their witnesses. A deposition is a formal proceeding governed by court rules, typically conducted in an attorney’s conference room before a court reporter, and involves the attorney asking questions and the “deponent” answering those questions under oath that their answers are true and correct. The purpose of depositions is to find out before a critical hearing or trial what the other party knows or is going to say or claim in court, in order to avoid surprise and be prepared.
The discovery process is usually extremely time-demanding for both the attorney and client and, therefore, extremely costly. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon in family law cases for some divorce lawyers to use discovery more as an expensive and unnecessary weapon of intimidation than a tool to access needed information. Instead of just asking for information, some attorneys will automatically send out lengthy discovery requests at the onset of a case, causing you and your attorney to spend significant time and money responding to those requests.
Typically, when this occurs, your attorney is forced to serve discovery responses on your behalf, also adding to your expenses.
Please understand that discovery can be both critical and necessary; however the need for discovery and the timing and amount of discovery required in each case can vary widely and sometimes little or no discovery is required to obtain information, identify and resolve issues and reach agreement.
Discovery is often the biggest “hidden expense” in a divorce case. If the divorcing couple is able to reach agreement with little or no discovery, they will be able to minimize the expense of the divorce process.
If you are facing separation and divorce, you likely have many questions about what to expect – financially, logistically and emotionally. The only way to get reliable information about your specific situation is to seek professional legal guidance from an experienced divorce lawyer. Attorney Fred L. Coover has been practicing divorce and family law in Howard County, Maryland for over 30 years. Contact Coover Law Firm, LLC today at (410) 995-1100 to schedule a consultation to discuss the unique details of your case.
Disclaimer: The information in this blog post is provided for general educational & informational purposes only. It is not intended to convey legal advice or serve as a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter.