It's no secret that getting a divorce can be expensive. But it doesn't have to break your bank. And one of the many potential ways to keep divorce costs down is to be less combative with your soon-to-be ex and be more collaborative instead.
A collaborative divorce is one in which the parties use mediation and negotiations to settle contested issues in their divorce rather than battling it out in the courts. So how can a collaborative divorce save you money, and how much will it cost?
Why a Collaborative Divorce May Be Less Expensive
The bulk of divorce costs come from court appearance and filing fees. But you don't need to go to court to negotiate, settle, or finalize your divorce. In fact, couples that decide on a collaborative divorce, along with their attorneys, often sign a "no court" agreement that mandates both of the attorneys will withdraw from the case if it continues to litigation in court.
Instead, you and your attorney will meet with your spouse and their attorney, mostly likely on a regular basis to hash out issues like property division and child support and custody. In some cases, if the parties are having difficulty reaching agreements, a licensed mediator is brought in as an independent party, knowledgeable of divorce law and procedures and skilled in guiding the parties to an agreement. A mediator may also want to hear from other professionals like child custody specialists or accountants in especially complex negotiations.
In any case, with all parties working together, outside of an adversarial court system, many of the divorce costs and fees can be eliminated.
How Expensive a Collaborative Divorce May Be
As with anything involving the law and lawyers, there is no set cost for a collaborative divorce. Divorce attorneys will charge varying rates depending on their skill and experience, although some may have a standard retainer. And the more consultations or meetings that are involved -- along with whether a mediator or other expert is required -- the more those fees can accumulate.
To get a more definitive estimate on how much a collaborative divorce may cost, contact an experienced divorce attorney in your area.