If you're approaching a divorce from a reasonable standpoint, then the first thing you really need to do is to sit down and budget for it. If you and your spouse can work together to create a budget to manage the divorce, that's great. If not, then you should sit down and plan out your own budget to prepare.
In California, the majority of divorces end in 50-50 splits of assets. That's because the state is a community property state. In the same light, that also means that you and your spouse are likely to share the cost of a divorce. Being able to talk about those costs can help you reduce their amount.
How will talking about the cost of a divorce reduce costs?
If you and your spouse sit down to talk, bring up the idea of mediation or arbitration. Negotiating on your own, handling disputes outside court and limiting the time you spend arguing between your attorneys will save you money in the long run. While there will always be court costs and financial challenges to overcome during a divorce, being reasonable about your expectations and limiting the time you spend in court will help you avoid a growing bill.
In divorce, time equals money. So, think carefully before you decide to take your case to trial or drag out the divorce over a piece of property. You need to sit down and think about what you really want out of your divorce at the very minimum and about what the ideal outcome would look like. If you and your spouse can agree without assistance from arbitrators or mediators, that's great, because you won't spend time using those services. However, it's always advisable to run any property division plan past your attorney, so that you can make sure it's fair to you.
If you go to trial, chances are that the judge will order a 50% split of your assets. You'll have to argue for the assets you want, spend time away from work or your other activities to attend court and just generally deal with more stress. Unless there is a problem you simply cannot overcome outside court, the best money-saving option is to avoid a divorce trial at all costs, because it will have an uncertain outcome and could end up costing you the most in the end.