Jan 03

3 Ways Staying Calm Can Make the Cost of Divorce More Affordable

Written by: Megan Dell


Starting a divorce can be challenging, especially if you’re afraid of it. Thoughts about the impending cost of divorce can easily stop you in your tracks. However, filing for divorce may be the best choice for your family. Letting fear and anxiety drive your decisions when scared to get divorced can cause costly mistakes for your case. Read on to learn how to avoid allowing anxiety to set the course for your future.

Fear is a natural, normal and adaptive human emotion that arises in response to a perceived threat, danger, or something that is seen as potentially scary or harmful. It is a basic survival mechanism that prepares the body to respond to situations that may pose a risk. Fear triggers a “fight-or-flight” response, activating physiological and psychological changes to help an individual confront or escape from a threat.

calculator used to calculate the cost of divorce

Commons Reasons to Be Scared to Divorce

Many people report being too afraid or scared to get a divorce for these common reasons:

  • They don’t feel safe to file for divorce.
  • They don’t want to raise their children with “divorced parents.”
  • They don’t want to leave their children with the other parent.
  • They don’t believe they can afford to get divorced.
  • They don’t know what the future, past an unhappy marriage, might look like.

All of these fears are normal and can contribute to a person deciding to stay married instead of filing for divorce. However, if you have decided, “I want a divorce,” then you should feel reassured that divorce attorneys are able to help you address all of your fears about impending divorce.

By the time you begin the divorce process and the complaint for divorce is filed, you should feel confident your lawyer has a plan to address all of your fears, either within the court system or by connecting you to other kinds of support.

How Fear Affects Your Decision-Making

Fear can significantly impact the way you make decisions, influencing their cognitive processes, behaviors, and overall decision-making strategies. These fears can also affect the cost of divorce. Here are some ways in which feelings of fear can affect decision-making:

  1. Risk Aversion: When people are afraid, they are likely to choose options that minimize potential harm or negative outcomes, even if those options may not be the most rational or beneficial in the long run. This can lead to a conservative approach to decision-making.
  2. Impaired Judgment: In a state of fear, individuals may struggle to think clearly and objectively, leading to hasty or irrational decisions. This can result in poor problem-solving and a reliance on quick, instinctual responses rather than thoughtful analysis.
  3. Narrowed Focus: Fear often leads to a narrowed focus on the source of the fear itself, making it difficult for individuals to consider alternative perspectives or information. This tunnel vision can limit the range of options considered.
  4. Avoidance Behavior: Fear can drive people to avoid situations or decisions altogether. The avoidance of potential threats or negative outcomes becomes a priority, even if it means missing out on potential benefits or opportunities.
  5. Impact on Memory: Fear can influence the way memories are formed and recalled. Traumatic or fearful experiences may be more vivid and influential in decision-making, leading individuals to make choices based on past negative experiences rather than current circumstances.
  6. Increased Sensitivity to Negative Information: Fear can heighten sensitivity to negative information, making individuals more likely to focus on potential threats or drawbacks associated with a decision. This heightened sensitivity can lead to a more pessimistic outlook.

Fear can deceive you, and divorce is stressful. Prepare to put aside emotions and concentrate on long-term goals.

woman who fears the cost of divorce as she looks over her financial statements

Consequences Most People Don’t Imagine on the Other End of Divorce

Once it’s clear that you are getting divorced, you are likely to feel anger (especially if there are fault claims in your divorce case), regret about communication in the beginning of your marriage and decisions made, shame about not being able to stay married, self pity about the lost opportunity for happiness, overwhelmed by the legal process of filing divorce papers, and doubt about your ability to heal and move forward without losing your sanity.

It is expected that you feel angry toward your spouse. And, depending on the dynamic within your marriage, your former partner or spouse may intentionally try to push your buttons so you do get angry. If you let your ex control your emotions, you lose the power to decide how your situation is handled.

Here are some ways we have seen soon to be ex-spouses lose control of their emotions and allow their unhappy and dysfunctional relationship to affect the result of their divorce.

Your ex’s goals are [usually] the opposite of your goals.

With the help of your divorce attorney, you will identify goals for division of your assets, any financial support you may pay or receive, and how to serve the interests of your child or your children. It is likely your spouse will also have goals for how the divorce matter will conclude.

Though you should not openly mistrust your spouse, it is healthy to have some skepticism about whether their proposed solutions actually serve your goals. This can be especially hard to remember when your parents, your own family members, friends, or other people offering emotional support are nudging you toward an “uncontested divorce” (opposed to a contested divorce) as attorney’s fees start to mount.

All of the fears you have about getting divorced can make it seem reasonable to fall into old relationship patterns and follow your spouse’s lead about how to move forward with the rest of your lives, and that usually doesn’t serve your interests.

If you don’t have enough information, you can’t evaluate your options.

In Family Court cases, it is common for one or both parties to want to hide information or “forget” to disclose it. Though discovery is intended to be a mechanism for exchanging all relevant information, spouses who are determined to withhold information are unlikely to cooperate without assistance from the Court.

Those spouses tend to be very manipulative — as your family law attorney pushes harder for information, they will want to talk to you directly about the possibility of settlement. They may want you to feel anxious that you won’t receive enough money or support unless you accept their offer.

Unfortunately, for your lawyer to be prepared and have confidence that any settlement is reasonable, they must first obtain the information your spouse doesn’t want to disclose. The truth is that if your spouse seems especially upset or emotional because you want specific financial information, then you probably shouldn’t settle your case without it.

Some parts of divorce last forever and cannot be changed.

Sometimes, people rush to end a relationship and make unfair agreements regarding money, debts, or financial support. The division of assets and debts in a court order cannot be modified in the future. If you divorce in South Carolina, a waiver of spousal support or alimony cannot be modified in the future.

Entering an agreement that resolves financial issues based on stress, fear, hope, excitement, relief, or any other emotion is not a good idea. Marriages are complicated, and ending them usually is too, especially if you want to reach an equitable resolution.

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3 Ways Staying Calm Affects the Cost of Divorce

Many people are concerned about divorce attorney prices and wonder how they can minimize the cost of divorce. Here are the three ways that staying calm and in control of your emotions and stress can affect the price of your divorce:

1. Not Everything Needs a Defense

Sometimes your spouse or their lawyer may try to upset you by making false allegations or filing unnecessary court documents. These can include suggesting there are fault grounds for divorce

Your attorney can guide you on which issues are worth your energy and money, and your ability to ignore your spouse can substantially affect how much your divorce matter costs. 

Focusing on the goals you set for yourself with your attorney — instead of on the emotions evoked by your ex — will enable you to be proactive about what happens in your case instead of feeling forced to constantly react to the behavior of the person you are divorcing.

2. Not Every Shiny Object is Worth Looking At

Remember, in most situations, your ex partner’s goals are the opposite of yours. Sometimes litigants try to control a divorce case by dangling a “shiny object” or, in other words, something intended to distract you from collecting the information you need to accomplish positive results for your new life. 

Being able to stay calm in the face of crazy allows you to spend your limited resources — time and money — in ways that will benefit your future and allow you to heal.

3. Not Every Cheap or Fast Result is the Right One

It can be tempting to accept the offer your ex makes to get an uncontested divorce and move on with your life quickly. But doing so doesn’t always yield a settlement that is right for the situation. 

Divorce can be an opportunity for new beginnings. An important aspect of charting your new course is learning to slowly and steadily pursue your goals, regardless of what your spouse does.

Ultimately, affordable divorces are possible if you can avoid continuing unhealthy patterns in your old relationship and instead focus solely on building your future life.

middle aged grey haired woman happy with her life after divorce

A Divorce Lawyer May Be the Key to an Inexpensive Divorce

Though it may not be obvious, spending money on a divorce attorney for solid legal advice throughout divorce proceedings can be a wise investment in your future.

The legal fees for a good divorce attorney provide objective guidance amid emotional turmoil and help deter you from making impulsive decisions. By enlisting professional support, you empower yourself to focus on the right aspects of your case and sidestep the pitfalls of emotional decision-making. Your financial future is at stake, and with the right legal counsel, we hope you can ensure that your resources are directed toward what truly matters.

Divorce need not be an expensive ordeal, and the right divorce lawyer can help reframe your negative emotions to focus on a result that can be the building block of your new life. In essence, paying for a divorce lawyer is an investment in a well-informed, secure future, mitigating the toll of the divorce process. Choose the path of informed decision-making, and let a trusted divorce law firm help you.