How Much Will A Divorce Cost Me?

Contrary to popular belief, divorce does not always have to be expensive. One of the biggest influencing factors in the cost of a divorce is the complexity of your specific case. These complexities come in a few different forms, and each essentially affects how much time needs to be spent on a particular case and therefore how expensive that case will be. Some of these things will be within your control, and others won’t – this is why it is important to reach out and schedule an initial consultation with an attorney. In your initial consultation, our attorneys can go over your specific set of circumstances with you, and they will be able to give you an idea of what your specific case might cost and how to manage those costs.


What will affect the cost of my divorce?


As mentioned, there are several main determining factors that will affect the total cost of your divorce. Some of these include:

  1. The amount of assets involved
  2. Whether or not you have children
  3. How contentious (think conflict) your case is

These factors all increase the complexity of your case and therefore increase the total cost.

How you can keep the cost down?


There are a few ways you can help keep the cost down in your case. The most popular way is to utilize our unbundled legal services, which involves having an attorney help with one specific aspect of your case, such as drafting and reviewing documents for you, offering coaching or legal advice, or communicating with other parties, opposing counsel, and the courts. However, this option is not always a good fit, especially if your case has any of the factors listed above that tend to increase costs. Another way to keep costs down is to work on coming to an amicable agreement with your ex through mediation or arbitration. This will save time and money on going to court and is often easier on your emotional well-being in the end as well.


Every case is different, so it important to speak with an attorney to get a better idea of how much your specific situation will cost and what your options might be. Contact Divorce Matters today to set up an initial consultation with one of our many experienced attorneys who can help put you and your family on the path to a successful future after divorce.

Everything You Need To Know About QDRO’s

What is a QDRO?


QDRO stands for Qualified Domestic Relations Order. The simplest way to describe it is as a legal document that splits up the funds in an ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act) qualified retirement account. It is filed with the court as a part of a divorce or separation agreement stating that one spouse gets a pre-determined percentage of their ex-spouse’s retirement plan assets. One thing to note, if you choose to split retirement assets without a QDRO, the account holder is still responsible for taxes on the assets transferred. If you have a QDRO, your former spouse is then responsible for taxes once the funds are transferred.


Can a QDRO be reversed?


If you decide you’ve changed your mind about wanting a QDRO but it has already been received and processed, it is nearly impossible to reverse. The only way to have it changed is if the courts and the administrator agree that the QDRO goes against your divorce agreement and needs to be modified. If there is a misalignment, you might have to go back to your ex-spouse and re-negotiate in order to get the QDRO amended.


Do You Need One?


It is a good idea for anyone with retirement plan assets going through a divorce or separation to have a QDRO. In many cases, issues related to QDRO’s are overlooked and left unresolved, so it is important to speak with an experienced attorney about your retirement accounts to ensure you have a QDRO in place if necessary and that you’ve cover everything correctly in your divorce agreement.  Not many attorneys draft QDRO’s, but Divorce Matters attorney Ashley Balicki is skilled in drafting QDRO’s specifically. If you would like to speak with Ashley or any of our other experienced attorneys about your situation, contact Divorce Matters today or call us at (720) 542-6142.

I’m Not Sure I Can Afford An Attorney To Represent Me, Are There Any Other Options?

We understand cost can be a major concern for people when it comes to getting a divorce and hiring an attorney. At Divorce Matters we offer unbundled legal services or limited-scope representation, a type of service that may be able to keep costs down if it is the right fit for your specific case.


What are Unbundled Legal Services?


We like to describe unbundled legal services as a la carte legal services. Instead of hiring an attorney for full-scope representation, you can hire them to handle specific parts of your case or give advice on an as-needed basis. Some examples of unbundled services include document drafting/review, consulting and coaching, or review of settlement offers. Some cases only need limited help from an attorney and in these cases unbundled legal service can be one way to keep costs down.


Difference between full-scope representation and Unbundled Legal Services


Full scope representation is probably what you think of when you think of hiring an attorney traditionally. With full representation your attorney will be there with you throughout the entire divorce process, handling all paperwork, court preparations, scheduling any court appearances and mediations, and representing you at every step. With unbundled services or limited scope representation, you are only hiring an attorney for a specific aspect of your case that you need help with.


How to decide which service is best for you


Every case is different which is why we offer both traditional full scope representation and unbundled legal services. If you only have a few questions about your case or you just need help drafting a document, then unbundled services might be the best option for you and can certainly help keep costs down. If your case is more complex and/or contested then it might be more beneficial for you to consider full representation.


In order to figure out which services fit your situation best, contact us today to speak with one of our many experienced attorneys.

How Do I Pick the Right Attorney For Me?

One of the first questions you might ask yourself when you are searching for an attorney is “how do I know which attorney I’ll work the best with?” or “who will align with me and get me the best results in my case?” This is a very important question to consider because if you and your attorney don’t align then you might not be satisfied with their service or your end result. We never want that to be the case. Here are a few criteria to consider when deciding what attorney to hire to make sure that you and your attorney will be the best fit together.


Personality –

One of the most important factors to consider when deciding on hiring an attorney is how their personality would work with yours. When you are going through a divorce, you will end up sharing some of the most important and private details of your life with your attorney. Finding someone who complements you and can be a good partner is a key component to a successful attorney-client relationship.

Situation –

Another very important factor to consider when finding the right attorney is your specific situation. Every attorney has their strengths and areas of family law they practice more than others. If your case is very complex, you might look for an attorney who has more experience handling complex cases. On the other hand, if your situation is a very emotional one, it might be best to find a more empathetic attorney that you feel you can talk to and connect with for support. Another example would be if there is a lot of contention between you and your ex; in this case, you might be looking for a more aggressive attorney that will fight for you in times that get tense. Every situation is different, therefore it is key to find an attorney that will represent you in the way you need to be represented to achieve the most successful result in the end.

Cost –

Lastly, one thing to always keep in mind is how much you can afford when hiring an attorney. Of course, this always depends on each individual case and what you need the attorney to help you with. One of the most important factors that can affect the cost of your case is how contentious the separation is. If you and your ex can agree on most things through mediation, this will keep costs down compared to a case that goes to court. Another factor is what services you need legal help with. In some cases, you may only need unbundled legal services, but other cases will require full representation.


Finding an attorney with the right mix of personality, experience, and cost to help you with your divorce case is an important step in the divorce process. At Divorce Matters, we understand the importance of this decision. We match our clients with our attorneys based on all of these considerations, to ensure we deliver the best possible legal representation to every client.

If you’d like to get to know more about our attorneys visit their profiles here.

Financial Infidelity Can Lead To Divorce

It goes without saying that marital infidelity can lead to the breakdown of a marriage. But adultery is not the only type of infidelity you have to worry about ”“ there is also the notion of financial infidelity.

Financial infidelity basically means to lie to your partner about finances. And it’s a growing trend, according to a Harris Poll for the National Endowment for Financial Education. Two out of five Americans admitted to lying to their spouse about financial matters.

Financial infidelity can be anything from a little white lie to full-blown hiding of a significant amount of assets or debt. Sometimes it can be for a good reason, like saving up for a surprise family vacation. But often, the reasons for lying about money are more malicious, and this type of deception, when discovered (when ”“ not if), can lead to enormous trust issues that may culminate in divorce.

What Are Common Types Of Financial Infidelity?

  • The most common type of financial infidelity is the act of hiding something. This includes hidden purchases, hidden bank accounts, hidden cash stashes, that type of thing.
  • A less common, but still contentious form of financial infidelity ”“ lying about your debts or income.

In the age of cashless transactions, it is easier than ever to engage in financial infidelity. The practice is widespread throughout all demographics, though more common with younger couples. Usually, the moment of discovery is when a major event happens, such as a big purchase (home, car) or even things like medical emergencies. And when the truth comes out, it can destroy your trust and foster contempt ”“ the leading predictor of divorce.

So what should people do to avoid these problems? Maintain open and honest forms of communications about income, assets and debt. Have a weekly or monthly meeting with your spouse to review finances and pay bills. Couples who argue about money and finances should work with a marital counsellor or a financial advisor (or both) to guide them into a better way of handling their household budget, accounts and debt.

When Are the Worst Times Financially to Get a Divorce?

You can’t really control divorce; every case is different, and it isn’t exactly something you can plan for long-term. And while there is no good time for a divorce, there are definitely times that can be worse than others.

Four Times When Divorce can Deal a Major Blow to Your Finances.

  1. When the economy is down. You are already going to have to make some major financial decisions when you get divorced. You might have to rent or buy a new house, sell your own house, buy or sell your cars or maybe even take a new job. When the economy is down, all of those things are going to get harder.
  2. When you have bad credit. You need good credit for most major financial decisions, like renting apartments and even opening new credit cards. While divorce proceedings do not directly affect your credit score, many of the factors surrounding your divorce will. For example, assume you and your spouse had a joint credit account. If you do not deal with this credit account before your divorce, then you are still liable for contracts you made with your lenders. Your divorce decree does not end your relationship with the lender, so if your divorced spouse fails to make payments on the account, it will hurt your credit, too. Don’t let divorce make your bad credit worse and take care of these issues in a timely manner.
  3. When you have kids under 19. This is a no-brainer ”“ you will need to work on child custody issues like child support. On the upside, your children may later become eligible for student loans and grants that they would not otherwise have had access to had you not divorced.
  4. When the real estate market is down. Many divorcing couples sell the marital home, but if the market is low, you might find that you cannot sell your home for anything close to what you paid for it. That coupled with real estate fees, land transfer taxes and the general costs of moving can deal a heavy blow to your wallet.

The family lawyers at Divorce Matters serve the entire Denver, Colorado area.

Weathering a Divorce in the Great Recession

Divorce is difficult enough. But when you are facing a recession like the Great Recession””with all the financial uncertainty around it””the challenges of divorce seem to multiply.

In our practice, we have seen the economic impacts first-hand. Some couples are reluctant””or simply unable””to sell jointly owned homes. Others are having a harder time making maintenance and child support payments. Statistics show that these couples, and perhaps you, are not alone. Across the country, couples going through a divorce or modifying existing agreements are experiencing greater levels of stress and upheaval due to economic conditions.

Over the past couple of years, the national divorce rate has decreased significantly, suggesting that some couples who may otherwise have divorced are now limited by financial strain or are afraid to make any major life changes at this time.

Across the country, the impact of harsher economic times has been mixed. Divorce rates had initially declined, leading to divergent speculation that the recession was bringing couples closer together””or that financial hardship was preventing separation. In reality, both opinions appear to be true, according to a study conducted by the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia. Tough times bring some folks together, while they drive others farther apart.

It has long been reported that financial stress wields significant force in marriages. The UVA study confirmed that, reporting that only 27% of respondents with two or three financial challenges””job loss, foreclosure, and so on””saw their marriage as a “happy” one.

Recent economic evidence suggests that nearly 16% of the working adult population is unemployed, significantly higher than the reported rate of 9.2%. Clearly, that has an impact on the level of stress in a marriage.

At the same time, many couples considering divorce have been forced by economic conditions to put a hold on separation and divorce plans. In the above study, 38% said they had put those plans on hold. The reason for that statistic is likely largely driven by the decline in home prices.

In America, during the boom real estate market of the 1990s and early 2000s, housing prices rose, sometimes dramatically in many areas. Now, in many markets, homeowners are underwater, literally trapped in homes that are worth far less than what they paid.

Housing “wealth” is often the largest tangible financial asset a divorcing couple has. In many markets””including Colorado””selling that asset has become increasingly difficult. It can take many months to sell a property, if it sells at all. And when it does sell, it is often for a reduced price. Many homeowners have to come to the closing table with money to simply clear the loan. Or they go the route of foreclosure or short sales.

But the reality is that the grim outlook for housing values has led many couples to postpone divorce, pushing divorce rates down for the time being.

If you, like so many others, find yourself feeling trapped by any number of recessionary impacts, speaking with an experienced divorce attorney can be beneficial. Though not always ideal, there are a few options for divorcing couples when it comes to dealing with their family home or negotiating maintenance and support during the recession. An attorney can walk you through some of those alternatives, giving you additional resources and strategies while helping you chart a course forward, even as we continue to navigate rough economic waters.

Next week, we will discuss some options for selling the family home during the divorce process.