Minimize the financial costs of divorce

November 6, 2014

Here is the information you need to know about divorce costs, including tips to minimize your financial risks.

Minimize the financial costs of divorce

Divorce is a difficult time for any couple, but the costs of a divorce can make the process even more painful.

Unfortunately, 38 per cent of marriages end in divorce in Canada, meaning there is a high probability that you may face this issue in your lifetime.

The basics

Getting a divorce can be costly no matter what, but your legal costs depend significantly on whether the divorce is contested or uncontested by your spouse.

  • Canadian Lawyer Magazine indicates that the average uncontested divorce cost $1,565 in 2012, while the average contested divorce cost $14,540.
  • Keep in mind these figures are averages, and a contested divorce can exceed $50,000 in legal fees.

Court fees

Besides the cost of hiring a lawyer, there are a wide range of fees associated with the legal process of divorce.

  • Most are court fees, such as the motion for judgment, certificate of divorce, court processing, and registry fees, which can add up to hundreds of dollars.
  • These fees vary between provinces, and some provinces have additional fees associated with the divorce process.
  • If you factor in mediation, discovery procedures, financial audits and other legal developments that could occur during your divorce, you could be looking at thousands more.

Additional costs of divorce

Even once the divorce is settled, depending on the agreement, there could be additional expenses.

  • Often, one party of the divorce will be partly responsible for payments to the other, which means supporting a second household through child support or spousal support payments.
  • There are many hidden costs to divorce, as well. If you were dependent on your spouse's income, you may have gone years without work experience or training, which may leave you unprepared for the job market.
  • You may also no longer be eligible for certain deductions on taxes related to your children. If you share responsibilities equally for your child, then you can usually still claim these deductions, but if one parent is putting in more time with the child, then your deduction benefits may no longer be applicable.

Reducing costs

There are a few methods to reduce your divorce costs.

  • For one, if you can't afford a lawyer, it may be possible to secure one though legal aid in some provinces.
  • Ultimately, working together to sort out divorce issues in an amicable manner can help avoid a costly legal battle and leave both parties with more money in the end.

Protect yourself

The cost of divorce in Canada can vary widely, but usually means you will take some kind of financial hit.

  • Seeking a good lawyer, attempting to speak openly and honestly with your spouse and researching all options to protect yourself can help make the process less financially painful.
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