One of the first things that couples considering divorce want to know is how much the process will cost. The answer depends on your level of conflict and the type of divorce process used. Choosing mediation or collaborative divorce can help to reduce conflict while minimizing your expenses. Here is a breakdown of what both of those options look like.
The Cost Efficiency of Divorce Mediation
Sometimes couples consider the initial cost of mediation and assume that going through the traditional divorce process will cost less money. This typically is not the case. Couples often draft a quick agreement to get through the divorce quickly, but the final document is so vague they end up back in court anyway. This only prolongs the divorce and adds to the cost.
Mediation is a great choice if both parties are willing to do the homework, listen to what the other has to say, and desire to reach agreements without litigation. Divorce mediation consists of just the couple and a mediator who can help keep things on-track and neutral.
Keep in mind that litigation is expensive, even if the divorce is not a high-conflict divorce. People pay their lawyer an hourly wage each time they go to court. For each hour of time in trial, they can anticipate the attorney completes three hours of legal preparation.
What is a Collaborative Divorce?
In terms of cost, a collaborative divorce runs about the same as a low-conflict litigated divorce. However, couples are given access to a team of specialists in the areas of communication, finances, parenting, and more. Couples who go through a collaborative divorce tend to make the most informed decisions and have the greatest understanding of the law. Since both spouses collaborate on important matters, the outcome of decisions will have a more positive impact on their lives than arbitrary decisions by a judge.
For the collaborative divorce process to succeed, both spouses must approach it with deep willingness to settle issues without resorting to arguing just for the sake of it. Remember that conflict in divorce is what drives up legal costs the most.
If one spouse wants to take this approach and the other spouse does not, they should lay out the cost savings that can be expected by keeping conflict as low as possible. Unfortunately, we do sometimes see one spouse refusing to compromise and litigating every possible issue. This only drives up cost and adds unnecessary stress and anxiety to the children’s lives.
While some spouses are bitter and want to hurt the other in any manner possible, most parents do not want to hurt their children. Bringing up the benefit of a collaborative divorce for children could convince the other spouse to give it a try.
You Can Still Advocate for Yourself
A collaborative divorce does not mean staying quiet and not advocating for your own best interests. On the contrary, you can do that while still agreeing to keep personal attacks and unhelpful detractions out of the divorce agreement conversation. If you are in need of assistance in your family law matters, please contact Lisa Murray at Chase, Berenstein and Murray, Counselors at Law. We are committed to helping families while maintaining the highest level of professionalism. Contact us today to set up a meeting with an attorney.