Preparing for divorce on a first responder’s salary in Illinois

On Behalf of | Dec 18, 2020 | Family |

As a first responder, you work hard for what you earn. You probably didn’t get into this profession for the money, but instead to support the community. Since you live a modest lifestyle, you likely don’t like the idea of losing much of what you have in a divorce.

Paying thousands of dollars or going into debt for the privilege of splitting your property may feel outright offensive to you. For some people hoping to keep their divorce costs lower, the first instinct is to try to file without a lawyer.

Handling your own divorce creates the potential for mistakes because you don’t understand the law. It also makes you vulnerable if your spouse gets an attorney, which they can do even if they say they won’t. If you and your ex both have a lawyer, you will have a better chance of a fair and reasonable outcome. Thankfully, there are still several ways for first responders to keep divorce costs low. 

Explore filing an uncontested divorce

A big part of what makes divorce so expensive is the time it takes to argue your case in court. The more issues you litigate, the more expensive the divorce becomes. You have the option of filing an uncontested divorce where you provide the court with information about the terms that you have already set.

To make an uncontested filing work, you will have to cooperate with your ex, which might be difficult for some people. Mediation can be a tool for resolving conflicts before you file. The extra cost up front will keep divorce costs lower overall.

Be realistic in your expectations about divorce

No one can predict the exact way a court will rule in divorce proceedings. Even couples with marital agreements sometimes wind up surprised by the outcome. However, there are certain standards for divorce that will apply to your case.

The judge will try to fairly split your property using equitable distribution. Strategies focusing on depriving one spouse of their share of the marital estate will likely be expensive and ultimately pointless. When it comes to custody, the judge wants to rule in the best interest of the children. In other words, fighting tooth-and-nail for sole custody because you’re angry will cause a lot of stress but likely not affect the outcome.

Having realistic expectations and trying to avoid unnecessary conflict can be strategies that keep your divorce expenses lower overall. Especially for those who work stressful jobs, like first responders, it is important to have support that you can rely on during the divorce process.