I have recently blogged about internet divorces, how potentially cheap they are but also the risk in cutting too many corners.
At the same time I am regularly asked “what do you charge and how much will it cost” by potential clients. People facing divorce all have some preconceived ideas based on a friend’s experience, media reports etc. Most people believe their own family law situation is not a complicated one and should fit in the “average cost range”. As an experienced divorce professional, I know that few divorcing clients fit the “average model,” and the “cheapest price” may not be that cheap in the long run. You only have one chance at a matrimonial settlement which will affect you for the rest of your life. You want to be sure to get it right.
So how do divorce costs mount up?
The choice you make in how you will arrive at a divorce settlement agreement directly affects the cost.
A do-it-yourself divorce scenario where you work everything out between yourselves may be very effective and least costly but may best work in situations where there are no children, few assets and fewer complications.
Mediation allows divorcing couples to come to agreement mainly on their own with a mediator who facilitates with the couple in reaching an agreement. Couples share the cost of the mediator. Each spouse in turn may have their own divorce lawyer providing independent legal advice as required.
In Collaborative Law, clients each retain their own divorce lawyer in addition to other professionals such as family specialists and financial specialists as needed, who all work together to reach an enduring settlement. A collaborative divorce is a holistic approach where each family law professional charges at his or her own rate and divorcing couples have control over how much involvement from each divorce professional there may be depending on their own unique needs.
Traditional divorce litigation can be costly if negotiations fail and end up in the family law court. It is these costs which can be enormous.
Other factors can impact the total cost of your divorce, such as:
• The nature and complexity of the couples’ situation itself.
• Your lack of financial knowledge or familiarity with your own finances.
• The need for involving other professionals to assist with valuations of such things as home, other properties, pensions, businesses, stock options and tracing assets.
• Your emotional state, which may affect the duration and cost the time involved in reaching a settlement.
• Your decision to instruct a divorce lawyer and their own expertise.
Planning with your divorce lawyer may help by making strategic recommendations in a cost-efficient manner, no matter what method you choose to deal with your divorce. Divorce and family lawyers have expertise and experience that can help budget for this process and source funds to pay for the divorce, in addition to educating clients and professionals about complex financial issues, analysing and options for desired outcomes.
Maguire Family Law is a specialist firm of Family Law and Divorce Law solicitors based in Wilmslow, Cheshire. We offer legal advice to parties going through a divorce including the financial issues which flow from this and children matters including child maintenance.
We can also advise on Schedule1 Children Act 1989 applications.