Some people decide not to file for divorce because it’s too expensive to go through the process. It is important to remember that the actual expense of filing for divorce is only part of the discussion a person should have with an attorney. I am always glad to discuss these sensitive financial issues in a free consultation.
Remember that knowledge is power. Many clients who are afraid to move forward because they’re afraid they can’t afford to live separately after divorce have no idea as to what their financial situation is. So, you should take steps to get a hold of financial statements, pay stubs, 401K statements, credit card bills, utility bills, cell phone bills, etc. If your spouse refuses to provide that information to you, then it is likely he/she is hiding something from you or he/she is trying to control you. Most people don’t realize that financial abuse is a recognized form of abuse that a counselor will address in therapy.
If you cannot gain access to your financial information, I have many methods of obtaining such information once the divorce is filed. I can send subpoenas, discovery requests, etc. and I have many other suggestions for clients that I will often discuss during free consultations. Nevertheless, do not allow your spouses refusal to provide you with information prevent you or delay you in filing for divorce if that is the decision you have made. In fact, the longer you let such financial infidelity go on, the worse things get.
The next consideration is the actual payment of attorney’s fees. I will work with clients on payment plans when necessary but keep in mind that you are entitled to use marital money to pay for an attorney or you may use a credit card. In addition, Michigan law (i.e. MCR 3.206) allows the non-earning spouse to request payment of attorney’s fees by the earning spouse. Be cautious however. . . even if a judge orders the other party to pay some of your attorney’s fees, you are likely to incur additional fees. But, many people have no idea that there is actually legal precedent to help them pay for attorney’s fees. . . so do not let your spouse bully you into thinking you are stuck!
I am glad to discuss these financial matters with potential clients in a free consultation and further, once you hire me, we will go over your entire financial picture so that we can collectively make decisions and plan for the next phase of your life following your divorce.