I spent much less on my divorce than i thought: Here is how i did it

Rachael Scharrer shares how she spent much less than thought on divorcing and she shares how

After 5 years in the family court using a full-service legal firm, I knew I had spent a lot of money. When asked to place $15,000, $30,000 and $50,000 into a trust account for an interim hearing, two final hearings and for barrister fees, I knew I had spent more than I could have afforded on my own.

My ex-husband left me in debt. Our financial settlement meant that there was no exchange of funds … but meant that I took on his loans (which I paid out) and full financial responsibility of our children It also resulted in me choosing to spend a small fortune on protecting the children. It was my priority to ensure that they were safe and had stability.

I was certain I had spent over or around $250,000 on legal fees. I could have bought an investment property with the money spent!!

A few days ago, I received a reconciliation of my lawyer’s trust account. I was both shocked and delighted - I spent far less than I recall.

So, between the trust account funds, some smaller regular amounts paid by me directly, I spent less than $150,000 in 5 years – which is on average $30,000 each year. WHAAAT! I couldn’t believe it.

Of course, I phoned my mother. I shared my learnings and her response was “of course! You did so much work!”

I was very conscious that if I didn’t put in effort my bill would have been so much higher. I was really fortunate that I had two little children at home, a job that offered flexibility and I had the time to invest in my second full-time job (which was my divorce).

If you are currently going through your divorce, it’s good to know:

  1. Divorcing is a full-time job.
  2. Divorcing can be very expensive.
  3. Divorcing can be emotionally draining and exhausting.

Let me share with you how I did it and how I managed to keep my costs down:

  1. I was consistent with the outcome that I wanted
  2. I didn’t over communicate with my lawyer – I emailed my lawyer bullet points and took time to work out what was urgent and what I had to get over
  3. I kept a diary of dates, times, comments etc which became the strongest weapon in my divorce arsenal.
  4. I kept calls to a minimum – this is where it is easy to get off track and run up bills.
  5. I filled out my own forms and my lawyer checked them.
  6. I prepped my own affidavits so that my lawyer could easily remove what wasn’t relevant and create a punchy and powerful document
  7. I tried to maintain realistic expectations for the process and the outcome.
  8. I understood that I wasn’t my lawyer’s only client and that there were other people with more pressing issues that they had to deal with

Accordingly, I created the Divorce Answered Resources so that you too can make in-roads to being cost efficient by using free and affordable resources while feeling confident with the advice of a professional family lawyer.

Your divorce is what you make of it – depending on your circumstances, you may spend a lot more money in a shorter period or a lot less over a longer period on legal fees when divorcing. You only have one chance at divorcing so you had better get it right – being money smart and savvy with your efforts is important to conserving your funds and

Remember, divorcing isn’t all bad. It has also been the most liberating, transformational and empowering experience of my life. I chose not to simply survive my divorce, but I chose to thrive (and help others going through their own process).


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This is general advice only and is not provided as legal advice. If you have a legal issue, you should contact a lawyer and/or accountant before making a decision about what to do or applying to the Court. DivorceAnswered.com.au cannot provide legal advice. If you have an emergency situation, please contact Emergency '000'. © Divorce Pty Ltd