There are no minor children involved. The only real issue is our house. The 1st mortgage is current, but the 2nd mortgage has not been paid in over a year. We are also "underwater" because of the 2nd mortgage. I have left the house, but my husband is still living in it (and I'm sure he would like to keep it). All other bills are easily divisible.
Divorce / Separation Lawyer
I am sorry that your family is going through this. Most divorces and the associated costs are driven by two things: the clients and the lawyers. If you can be collaborative and your attorney or attorneys can be reasonable, it can be very inexpensive. Budget around $1500 in all if everything is agreed.
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Family Law Attorney
If there is a "real issue", then the dissolution is not uncontested. In fact, for many couples, the only asset they have together that possibly has any value is the house.
How much time a dissolution of marriage case takes is almost entirely within the control of the two spouses. The more they argue with each other, the more time it will take (and the higher the attorney's fees). It can be quite surprising what divorcing spouses can find to argue over.
If the two spouses truly are in total agreement and there are no assets or debts that require special handling (such as retirement plans), the spouses can perhaps do everything by themselves. The only costs would be the filing fees and the printing and making copies.
If you do not want to represent yourself, you should call a few law offices and schedule appointments to talk with the attorneys. Once the attorneys know the relevant facts, they can give you informed advice that may include what the likely costs would be.
Landlord / Tenant Lawyer
The other way to approach this is to consider taking a bankruptcy first. You can consult as a married couple, get your debts dealt with, and then get divorced.
I will frequently represent one of the parties and tell the other spouse that while I am not their lawyer, I have no interest in trying to trick them, and if they have any issues they can always get a lawyer. That can actually work out quite well. I agree that if there are no issues, $1500 is about right. Nearly $300 of that goes to the Court.
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