The cost of services for divorce varies from situation to situation. It is unfortunate that there is no way for a professional to be able to give you a definite figure of what your divorce will wind up costing you. This is because everyone’s financial and emotional situations vary so much.
THE COST OF DIVORCE SERVICES
Couples and families having very simple investments and retirement plans, and who are capable of working constructively together to make decisions, will usually be able to complete their divorce process with the least need for professional services. These partners can usually construct an agreement using the process of mediation (see Divorce Options).
When a family’s financial situation is complicated by a family-owned business, complicated investments, or by significant debts, more professional involvement will be needed. The same is true when trust has eroded in the couple’s relationship, when the couple has difficulty listening to the needs of their partner, or when emotional volatility interferes with constructive communication: more hands-on, professional assistance will most likely be needed in order for the couple to sit down at the negotiation table and arrive at constructive decisions. In these instances, the couple may be able to divorce using mediation, but with auxiliary services, or a form of collaborative divorce may be in order.
Partners whose abilities for making decisions are severely compromised by emotional behavior, drug or alcohol abuse, or by a complete unwillingness to negotiate constructively are most likely going to need a judge to make some of these decisions for them. In this case, the couple will need to use a litigated approach to achieving their divorce.
Uncomplicated, no-court divorces using mediation with no additional professionals can cost as little as $5,000. Divorces that have a high degree of emotional and financial complication and where a full, no court, collaborative team is needed can cost a great deal more. Litigated divorces are the most costly. This is because the couple is paying to have court processes involved. Different processes of divorce exist to offer the divorcing partners different levels of guidance and help so that the family’s assets can be divided with reason and fairness and in the best interests of the future of the spouses. Whether or not our children are part of your present family, long-term research shows that it is in your future’s best interest that you and your partner separate in a respectful way and that you create, together, a marital separation agreement that is at least barely acceptable to both of you.
It may seem odd but it is also true that divorce is an investment in a future for yourself, your children, and for their other parents. There is a great deal at stake in terms of the financial and emotional results that will be achieved. If you or your partner is considering divorce only as the means to no longer have to live together, one or both of you are very short-sighted. So be smart: get help to decide which type of divorce will best suit your needs and abilities. Choose your professional team members with care: find those with whom you feel a good, personal fit and who are experienced in the type of divorce you want to use. Develop a plan for paying for the costs of the divorce, once you have some idea of what that will be. Make sure that your professionals keep you informed of the running cost so it doesn’t get out of hand.
And remember: this is your future; more often than not, we get what we pay for.
ADVICE AND EDUCATION
Whether cooperative or adversarial at the outset, divorce is an emotionally wrenching and expensive process requiring clear thinking and a thorough look at all the divorce options available.
Divorce coaches assist a spouse, or a couple, to explore each option and decide which one is more likely to result in an emotionally and financially healthy resolution. Following only a friend’s referral to an attorney can result in also choosing the divorce process which that attorney practices without looking at the other options objectively.
Parents are often overwhelmed by the thought of telling their children that they are divorcing. Coaches assist couples by helping them decide what they want to say to their children and how they will go about telling them. This can reduce parents’ anxiety as it helps them demonstrate to the children that they will still be working together for them and that they still have the children’s best interests as their priority.
As the children experience a sense of cooperation between the parents, their anxiety and negative reactivity are reduced. This is a great way to start moving the family towards a new reality: that the family isn’t ending, but that it is changing its shape.
Moving into a single-parent role can be a worrisome and frustrating experience, at first. Frequently, single parents have difficulties learning how to use discipline effectively. Some parents never have been disciplinarians. They may find the experience awkward as they develop a new and healthy relationship with their child.
How much time should they be spending one on one; how do they handle changes in lifestyle as the budget changes; how much should they reveal about the marital or post-divorce relationship? Coaching offers support and guidance to parents as they get acquainted with the changes that single parenting brings.
It is important for each partner to be aware of what they want to achieve by becoming divorced. No longer living together isn’t enough of a goal. Coaching helps the individual or couple to form a picture of what they want their future to look like as a single parent and especially as a member of a co-parenting team after the divorce.
This planning lays the firm groundwork for clear decision-making and can assist the couple to achieve a divorce settlement or child-sharing agreement that best conforms to the picture they’ve developed.
Coaching can enhance skills that allow partners to manage negative emotions so they function productively through their divorce process. High, negative emotion interrupts good decision-making and fans the fires of conflict. The coaching experience enhances a partner’s ability to communicate constructively, and with respect.
Coaching can help spouses to overcome fear. Having a neutral party listening can reduce tension and anxiety, increasing a person’s ability to think more clearly and make better decisions. Coaching can be used in preparation for meetings with attorneys, a mediator, or during meetings where both partners and their support teams come together for creative problem-solving.