Someone who sells you a cheap divorce is doing just that – giving you a sales job. Here’s why.
First, let’s get real about costs. Just to file a divorce in Knox County, you must pay the Clerk around $350.
Service fees run you between $40 and $125, depending on if your ex is in county or not, and depending on whether you get the Sheriff to do service or hire a private process server. At Held Law Firm, we always recommend hiring a private process server. That way, you can control when and where your ex gets served, and you only pay if the process server “gets his man.” If you rely on the Sheriff, you may wait weeks, only to have the Sheriff return the papers as “unserved.” The Sheriff serves on his schedule, not yours – meaning, your ex may get served while the children are at home, or at his job, or in some other way that you would not want because of the drama it can cause.
All of this is before you’ve paid the first penny to a lawyer. So, the lawyer that tells you that you can get your divorce for less than $500 is lying to you.
Just drawing up divorce paperwork doesn’t cost a lot of money. We can usually do it for less than $1,000 – meaning, your whole divorce could theoretically cost less than $1,500 to do.
But divorces are not just about drawing up paperwork. During a divorce, we are restructuring your family’s entire life. Everything you have bought and everything you have borrowed is up for grabs by you and your spouse. Who is going to pay the debts? Where are the children going to live, and with whom? How is their health going to be cared for? These are big decisions, and if you and your spouse were able to agree about what they should be, it is highly unlikely you would be getting divorced.
These decisions matter, and they must be made during the divorce process, not in some fuzzy future. You need to have all of the information before you, objectively presented, and all of your options explained, including their costs, benefits, risks, and opportunities.
Getting a divorce is not filling out a form. It’s getting advice on how to fix a family that, for the time being, isn’t functioning as well as it could. That costs money, and trying to get it “on the cheap” is likely to cause more problems than it solves.
By all means, don’t spend money just to spend money. Depending on your goals and the maturity of your ex, you can definitely get a divorce done affordably. But “affordable” is not the same as “cheap.” Your family is not something to be cheap about. View your payment to your lawyer as an investment in your future. Make sure you’ve done your homework and investigated your lawyer’s reputation carefully. Then, pay them what they are worth.
Ready to start planning your post-divorce future? To schedule a case assessment with Margaret Held or another Held Law Firm attorney, call (865) 685-4780.