One of the most common questions we get from prospective clients when they call or come in for a consult is how they can save money on divorce. This is understandably a big concern for people as no matter how you do your divorce. No matter what, there is going to be a cost associated with it. Even someone who tries to do the whole thing themselves (and for most people we wouldn’t recommend that!) there are still high costs. You would need to complete the paperwork and pay filing fees for the court, almost $1,000 just on their own. That being said, there are some things that you can do to save money on divorce, whether you’re in mediation or litigation.
Be Prepared and Do Your Homework
I always tell my clients that the cost of a divorce depends on how prepared they are for our actual mediation session. They can significantly lower the cost if they do their homework before we meet. If they’ve done their homework, uploaded their documents, and sent the correct information, our mediation sessions can be much more productive. If they’re not prepared, then we end up spending the session time trying to find the information. Often it leads to needing additional time in mediation that we didn’t think we’d need. The other way to be prepared is by reviewing the information and making sure you understand and maybe even have some ideas of what you want to do.
Use Your Attorney and Other Professional’s Time Wisely
Depending on the complexity of your case, there can be many professionals involved. The cost for each of them is not cheap. While these professionals are often necessary, I would advise you to use their time wisely. Use the right professional for the right expertise. It will take them a lot less time than your attorney trying to learn an area they aren’t familiar with. Or using your attorney as your therapist when your therapist’s hourly rate is a lot lower.
Determine What You Already Agree On
Not all couples can sit down by themselves and have a conversation. It’s ok if you can’t! I always say if everyone could mediate themselves, I would be out of a job. However, if you are able even to figure out what you guys agree on already, it’s going to take less time and thus less money. By being able to tell your mediator that you already decide on “a, b, and c,” and only need their help figuring out “d, e, and f,” you’ll spend the time on the things you need help with.
Think About Your Communication
These days with email, it’s straightforward to shoot off a quick question to your attorney or mediator. If your attorney or mediator charges by the hour in six-minute increments, then each time you ask a quick question, it’s going to be .1 increment of time. On the other hand, if you can include more questions in an email, it might make them the same amount of time. Additionally, sometimes, a quick phone call scheduled with your attorney can take care of the answers to many questions. And even other times someone else in the office who bills at a lower rate may be able to assist you.
Want to talk about how much you can save on your divorce by choosing mediation? Contact West Coast Family Mediation Center to schedule your free consultation.
by: Amanda Singer