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How to get your money's worth during divorce

Divorces in New York aren't cheap, but that doesn't mean you have to pay more than necessary to reach a divorce settlement.

Exercising common sense through divorce can be challenging, especially when emotions interfere with smart decision making. Experts recommend approaching divorce like a business matter -- which it is, when you zero in on the financial aspects.

Many spouses have a hard time tolerating a former partner during divorce, which makes communication problematic. Raw feelings seem to create stumbling blocks for going separate ways. Spouses who don't want to talk to an ex, even about small things, often shove the responsibility onto an attorney.

Every time a divorce lawyer is used to find out information that a spouse could obtain through a short call or email, legal fees increase. An attorney's time is valuable. Unless you have a significant amount of cash stocked away, consider stepping up your participation in the divorce process.

An attorney is a legal adviser. Do you really need to ask a lawyer to contact an ex-partner or a spouse's attorney for minutia like a creditor's address or the balance in a joint account? The information is usually accessible with a little personal effort -- digging through some paperwork, calling up a mortgage company or connecting briefly with an ex online.

Anything that spouses agree to do before an attorney or judge becomes involved will save time and money.

Decide if a dispute is worth the cost. It makes little sense to spend more on legal fees than the entire value of a disputed asset. Try not to get caught up in asset gamesmanship by fighting over an asset simply to keep a former partner from getting it.

Divorce attorneys work for the best interests of clients. Spouses who don't monitor lawyers' activities and fail to define expectations may spend foolishly.

Source:, "Top 5 Ways To Save Money During Your Divorce," Susan Saper Galamba, Nov. 7, 2012

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