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5 Reasons Why You Cannot Afford an Albuquerque Divorce (But You Can).


Recently I was in rural Virginia celebrating my parents’ 50 wedding anniversary and it got me thinking about why some marriages last and others do not.  I am not a marriage counselor nor do I remotely claim that I am, so I will leave my thoughts there. However, I want to discuss why you cannot afford your divorce - but you can.


#1.   Selecting the right lawyer. There is not a correlation between the amount a lawyer charges and the outcome of your case. What matters are results.  Most lawyers want a large retainer up front for their services. Some are willing to set up a payment plan towards the retainer. You have to find the right lawyer that is willing to work within the confines of your budget.


#2.  Unrealistic expectation of costs.  Recently, someone commented on my Facebook page about the cost of an uncontested divorce.  I asked the person what their concern was about the fee. To date, I have not heard back from that person, but it is my opinion they could not afford the service, which is okay.  A lawyer’s goal should not be to take the last dollar of their client, but it should not be done for free either. Prospective clients should plan for the worst as far as costs go when budgeting for divorce.  Lawyers should not sugar-coat the cost of legal fees either as a misperception of costs could cause a strained relationship between the lawyer and client when the lawyer is asking for more money.


#3.  Want to win at all costs.  I have had clients tell me, I will spend whatever it takes to get everything I am entitled to!  Yet, when a retainer is asked to help them achieve that result, oftentimes, it is met with “I cannot afford that”.  Now, it is either you are all in or you are not. You have to understand hiring a lawyer to help you at all costs is telling your lawyer you have unlimited access to funds.  Be realistic, if you have a set amount for your divorce, tell you lawyer upfront and maybe you can work out an arrangement to help you receive the best result possible within your budget.


#4.  Not being reasonable in settlement.  New Mexico is a community property state.  What that generally means is that everything accumulated during the marriage is considered jointly held property, entitling each person 50% of its ownership and value.  If you are adamant that the retirement plan or the house you purchased during the marriage should not be divided because you were the primary earner during the marriage and the other parent contributed nothing to the marriage because they chose not to work, you are being unreasonable. In a community property state, contributions of the parties is not a factor on determining how much the other person will get from the divorce.  If you continue to be unreasonable, your divorce costs will go up.


#5.   You are not ready to move on.  When a client is ready to settle the case, they usually come to the realization they are ready to move on.  When you are ready to move on, you will become more reasonable and your divorce costs should go down. It is when you are not ready to move on is when every issue related to your divorce turns into a major problem and you find yourself in court over and over related to the small stuff. If you can control your emotions, you can control the costs of your divorce.  Often times, I advise clients to seek the help of a mental health professional to help you cope during the divorce process as a way to mitigate your anxiety about the next phase of your life and to control your divorce costs if you are represented by a lawyer.


Divorce is an emotionally and financially trying process.  You can limit your divorce costs by reviewing how you are conducting yourself during the process.  A lawyer can assist you with your legal rights in a divorce and that may help lead you to a better outcome.



Anthony Spratley
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Experienced Divorce, Child Custody, and Guardianship Lawyer Serving Albuquerque and Beyond
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