When a couple comes to me for divorce advice, one of their primary concerns – after ensuring that the kids are okay – is making sure they don’t go broke in the process. The good news is how much you spend on your divorce is completely within your control – you just have to be prepared and do your research. To establish the kind of divorce that flows smoothly and doesn’t cost a fortune, keep the following three tips in mind:

1.    Choose a low-cost divorce process. 

If you want to keep your divorce costs low, you want to avoid going to court for a contentious, drawn out, and expensive legal process. Instead, you want to focus your efforts on settling your divorce out of court either with the help of a mediator or through the Collaborative Divorce process using professionals trained to help you and your spouse to reach a solution that works for everyone.

2.    Hire a top-notch team to streamline your divorce.

Once you’ve chosen your divorce process, it’s time to hire a top-notch team to execute it as efficiently and painlessly as possible. When you’re hiring your team, prepare to ask the following questions to ensure that you get the right people on your side:

For your lawyer ask questions like:

–       How many divorces have you handled recently?
–       How many of these cases have you done, and what is your success rate?

For a mental health professional ask questions like:

–       Have you been trained to specifically handle divorces?
–       What’s your professional experience with divorces? 

For a mental health professional, ask yourself questions like:

–       Is this individual a good personality fit for me?
–       Do I feel comfortable talking to and sharing with this person?

3.    Be your best self during the divorce.

Once your team is in place, prepare to bring your best self to the divorce process by taking the following four steps:

–       Check your expectations: Recognize that you probably won’t get everything you want out of your divorce. Also, be realistic about how your standards of living will change.

–       Pick your battles: Ask yourself why you’re digging your heels in over certain issues. Are they really meaningful to you, or are you just angry? 

–       Negotiate and compromise: Both you and your spouse are going to want certain things like time with the children and assets. Be willing to give your spouse the kind of consideration you’d like him or her to give you. 

–       State your needs, and work together on a solution: Your divorce will flow more smoothly if you work together to find a solution, instead of demanding certain things. For example, instead of demanding 50% time with the kids, say, “I need meaningful, quality time with the children” and work from there.