Apart from the mental side, a divorce can be very expensive. Even in an amicable divorce, there are always costs for a lawyer as well as the court. If the failed spouses agree on the legal separation, they may play with the idea of getting divorced without a lawyer, however, the legislator puts a spoke in the wheel here. Due to its legal nature, a marriage cannot be divorced just like that, which is why the spouses may well incur considerable divorce costs.
Divorce only by judgment of the court
In the Federal Republic of Germany, divorce is only possible through the courts. All attempts by legislators to make divorce by mutual consent possible – for example, through a notary – have failed to date due to resistance from various interest groups. Even if the spouses to be divorced are in complete agreement, no savings are possible here.
Lawyer compulsory, but only for one party
The most important cost factor is the lawyer's fee. These are basically not insignificant and regulated by the Lawyers' Fees Act (RVG) in such a way that there is little discretion in the fee structure here.
However, one way to save money is that lawyers are only required for the party filing the petition for divorce. The costs for a lawyer entrusted with the divorce process are therefore only incurred once and can be divided between the spouses to be divorced by agreement.
Officially the lawyer remains however representative only of a spouse. This would not be possible in any other way for professional reasons – conflict of interests. In practice, however, this should have no significance, since the lawyer will not bring about a solution to the disadvantage of the – formally speaking – opponent against the will of his client.
It is important that both parties – even if only one is the client – have a relationship of trust with the lawyer. Ideally, this lawyer should be a specialist in family law.
Here you can save almost half of the divorce costs.
The marriage contract as "insurance
Concluding a prenuptial agreement is no longer unusual today. Good for the one who has made provisions in this way in the event of a divorce. The divorce consequences are thus bindingly regulated. (see also divorce settlement agreement)
It may seem dishonest to the one who wants to vow "for better or for worse" to conclude a marriage contract at the same time. But does this coverage for the worst case change anything about the seriousness of the marriage? No, because no one who takes out liability insurance for his car wants to cause damage.
A divorce without litigation is called an amicable divorce. If there is agreement between the spouses, the consequences of the divorce can also be settled jointly without a prenuptial agreement.
Divorce consequences are called alimony (for the spouse and ggfs. The divorce proceedings are based on a number of factors, such as the legal status of the spouses (joint children), the matrimonial property regime (gain, separation of property), the custody of the children (one partner or both), the right of access (i.e. when and how the partner without custody can maintain contact with his or her children), and the equalization of pensions (the distribution of jointly acquired pension entitlements).
In court, it is thus unnecessary to negotiate these points. With careful preparation, the only thing left to do on the date of the hearing is to accept the judgment.
The contentious divorce
If the spouses do not agree on the consequences of the divorce, the court will determine them. Hiring a second attorney is likely to be the norm here. This drives up the divorce costs, because the lawyer's fees make up the bulk of the costs anyway. If the consequences of the divorce have to be clarified in court, these items are additionally included in both attorneys' fees. The amount is determined by the value of the matter in dispute, i.e. the amount in dispute.
So there is no such thing as a divorce without court and without a lawyer, but minimizing divorce costs is possible in many cases.