GETTING A DIVORCE? – DON’T MAKE A $20,000 MISTAKE!
Written by Stephen E. Mitchell - Certified Civil & Family Mediator Friday, 17 February 2012 16:53
A divorce from your spouse has become a reality – either because you want one or your spouse does. The first reaction is to hire a lawyer to represent you in the divorce. Don’t make a $20,000 mistake! This action can set off a chain reaction that can wind up costing tens of thousands of dollars, creates turmoil and dissention within the family, can emotionally scar your children for life, and results in some third party (the judge) ultimately telling you and your spouse how everything about your family is going to be handled. The average cost of a divorce across the United States is between $15,000.00 and $30,000.00. What is it that costs so much? It's usually the legal fees that each side pays to their attorneys. The typical up-front retainer for a divorce attorney in Tallahassee is $2,000-$3,000. Hourly rates for divorce attorneys can be hundreds of dollars per hour and both parties usually have an attorney. Is there a better, cheaper, and faster way?
Divorce by mediation may be the right way for you. Many couples today, especially in the current economy, are looking for practical, economic ways to solve problems – including getting a divorce. The end result of divorce mediation is a marital settlement agreement that is necessary for the judge to grant the divorce. In the absence of an agreement, the judge will decide all of the issues (such as division of property and debts, alimony, child support, custody and visitation). The end result of divorce litigation can be a trial after years of legal bills, headache, heartache, depleted bank accounts, a torn apart family, and an order nobody likes or wants to obey.
Divorce Mediation may be right for you
- if saving time, money and anguish are more important than the desire to crush your spouse through long and expensive litigation;
- if saving the family’s assets to begin the next phase of your lives instead of huge legal fees makes sense;
- if you and your spouse creating a parenting plan and a financial plan to guide you in the future – not one done by lawyers and/or a judge – makes sense;
- if minimizing the emotional toll on a divorce can cause you and your children makes sense;
- if you prefer to keep the details of your case private and confidential;
- even if you seem to not be able to agree with your spouse on anything!
- if you need to have an existing agreement or order modified.
Mediation time spent meeting with the couple is billed at an hourly rate that is significantly less than the hourly rate for a single divorce lawyer. Fewer hours are needed for mediation because the focus is on agreement and resolution rather than preparing for litigation. Typically, the mediation process will take between two and six hours depending upon the issues and personalities of the parties. Preparation of the agreement and other court documents are billed at a flat rate that is dependent upon the complexity of the case. The total cost is usually much less than the retainer would be for just one divorce lawyer. There is no retainer for divorce mediation.
Credit and debit cards are accepted. Don’t make that $20,000 (or more) mistake.