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Why the Costs of Divorce Can Force Some Couples to Stay Together

| Aug 11, 2021 | Divorce

For some couples, divorce is inevitable. Whether you’ve made it one year or 50 years in your marriage, sometimes it is best for everyone to go their separate ways. For couples who have amassed significant assets, who are struggling to pay the bills, or who have been married for a long time, divorce can be financially devastating.

For less affluent couples, divorce is such an expensive venture that those who cannot afford to hire an attorney are stuck in relationships they no longer want; according to a recent article in The Atlantic, “The high cost of divorce encourages separation for the poor and divorce for the wealthy: In one large study, about 15 percent of separated spouses, who were disproportionately low-income people of color with children, simply stayed separated rather than divorcing.”

Cost-prohibitive divorces can put lives in danger

Sometimes, people stay in marriages that are dangerous to themselves and their children simply because they cannot afford to get out. They live with the abuse because they cannot afford to go anyplace else, let alone go through the process of divorce. As The Atlantic reported, victims may turn to Facebook and other social media groups looking for pro bono attorneys to help them.

Americans are afforded the right to an attorney when faced with criminal charges if they cannot afford one on their own; there is no such right when someone wants to file a civil claim. Other civil claims that can be just as costly include child custody and eviction.

Getting married is cheap; getting divorced is expensive

It costs less than $100 to get married in Maryville, Tennessee. The state requires a marriage license and a fee of $97.50. That fee is reduced to $37.50 if the couple completes a premarital preparation course. That’s it. That’s all it costs to get married in Tennessee.

To get divorced, you will need to pay a filing fee with the courts. The fee to file for a divorce in Blount County can be up to almost $300, so it’s already 3x more for the paperwork. The fee has that range based on a couple of factors: did a sheriff serve the divorce papers to your spouse, and do you have children with your spouse? Then, you’ll have attorneys’ fees as well as costs associated with discovery (in litigation), financial experts (for valuation of assets, if applicable), mediation (required in Tennessee), and other associated fees and expenses.

There’s no set amount for how much a divorce will cost you, but it will cost more if you and your spouse fight. Some couples are able to spend less on their divorce because they agree on everything from child custody to alimony to the division of assets. Other couples spend more on their divorce than they did on their wedding because they’re too busy fighting over the teaspoons (or, more likely, the family pets) to negotiate a fair outcome.

How long does it take to get divorced in Maryville?

It depends on whether your divorce is contested or uncontested. Litigation takes longer, so a contested divorce can drag on for months or even years. Divorces involving children often take one year to finalize.

No matter what, a domestic relations action must be filed with the Tennessee court local to your residence and the filing fee must be paid. This can be filed by you or your Maryville divorce attorney.

According to the law in Tennessee, a divorce cannot be granted before 60-90 days if it is agreed upon. Emergency matters can be schedule before that when necessary. You can work with your spouse before the court hearing to come to an agreement on child custody, alimony, division of assets, and other important issues, which can help you avoid going to court.

If there are minor children involved, the court is required to wait 90 days before finalizing the divorce. If there are no minor children, the court can finalize the divorce in 60 days.

How to avoid a costly divorce in Blount County

If you are filing for divorce in Maryville, there are a couple of things you can do to reduce the overall cost of the divorce, including the following:

  • Listen to the advice provided by your attorney.
  • Stay organized at all times (write down filing dates and other deadlines so you don’t miss them).
  • Try to work with your spouse as much as possible on all areas of the divorce. (This is especially important if you have children, which means you are going to be in each other’s lives forever).
  • Go through mediation in good faith. Often, you can reduce the time and expenses associated with a divorce this way. Compromise means no one gets everything they want, but ideally, both sides get what is just.

When you work with Shepherd & Long, we do our best to alleviate the financial pressures of a divorce by telling you upfront what the costs will be. We won’t bill for an hour for your 5-minute phone call, and we don’t surprise you with fees later.

Are you considering filing for divorce? If so, the Maryville divorce attorneys from Shepherd & Long can help you navigate the process efficiently. Let us help you start a more peaceful and stress-free life. Call our office at 865-383-3118 or complete the contact form to schedule a consultation with a member of our team. We serve clients throughout East Tennessee and Blount County.