Getting divorced can be a lot like going to the grocery store without a list when you’re hungry.
You have an idea of what you want, but you’re so hungry when walking in that you add things to the basket that you never intended. You walk out of the grocery store with more items and having spent more than what you initially intended.
The cost of a divorce can greatly depend on you and your spouse.
You have a choice to enter the process with a plan or enter the divorce process without a plan. You can begin the divorce process with strong feelings of anger, bitterness, and/or resentment towards your spouse and then use your lawyer to attempt to “beat up” on your spouse and fight to get everything for you. When you do this, you are essentially giving your hard-earned money to the lawyers. Or, you and your spouse can start the divorce process by working together or with a marriage counselor, with a plan to try to work matters out as much as possible and only using lawyers for legal advice, direction and drafting documents, and thereby save yourselves money. Money that will be split between you to take care of the newly divided family in the future. This may not be the best approach, however, if one spouse has solely managed the finances and you have been kept in the dark or have concerns that your spouse is not fully forthcoming in providing you information and documents, and/or if you have complex financial assets, and/or there are strong emotions that prevent you from being able to work together productively.
A traditional litigated divorce is typically the most expensive route.
Especially when there is a lot of arguing and fighting. If you haven’t resolved your emotional issues, those issues will come up. It may come down to wanting a pound of flesh from the other spouse instead of just dissolving the marriage. No attorney has control over the other party or their attorney. If the other party is being difficult and emotions are getting in the way, you’re probably going to have a more expensive divorce. In a litigation case, a client could be pushing their lawyer to put up roadblocks at every chance. Unfortunately, there are attorneys who will do whatever their client wants as long as it is not illegal or unethical. In a litigated divorce, this will just increase your fees and cause you to spend a lot more than you were planning.
In the Collaborative Divorce process, anger and other emotional issues will still come up.
However, in a Collaborative Divorce you have a neutral mental health professional on the divorce team who can work with you and your spouse offline to talk through these matters sufficiently to move past them. If one party or another is having a difficult time emotionally with the divorce, the neutral mental health professional can work with them offline at a much lower hourly rate than an attorney and assist them in working through their emotions so as not to derail the process. They can also be very beneficial in assisting that person with moving forward and in a much more productive manner, through their divorce. It is better to talk to a therapist whose expertise is in human behavior than to “battle” issues out in the meetings (or in court) with the attorney’s meter running. If you can resolve and/or work through those emotional issues, you can get through your divorce process much more quickly and in a much more cost-effective manner.