Common Questions Divorce Clients Ask- How Much Will It Cost?
The first thing that usually comes to mind is how expensive is a divorce, because I think that’s closely wrapped up into what are my safety issues? How will bills get paid? How will the kids get transported? Exactly what are the arrangements, what are the requirements in a divorce? It’s so interesting to see a person who’s fresh to the experience try to figure out where their priority needs to be between their need to get the divorce versus their need to protect the family. A lot of the conversation right out of the box revolves around safety versus expense, how much control one person has had or has lost, and how much control can they exercise over their own process? Once the conversations really turn to the topic of control, that’s a very good way for me to introduce the concept of collaborative divorce.
What is the cost of a collaborative case versus an adversarial divorce litigation case?
A collaborative divorce is far more economical. It’s far less expensive because it focuses on keeping the clients at the center of the process rather than the lawyers at the center of the process. In collaborative, other than the joint sessions, all the additional efforts that are put in by members of the team are typically one on one with the client and very focused with a specific goal in mind, whereas in litigation, most of the effort happens through discovery or appearances in court through hearings or temporary orders where the control is with the courts and the expense is because of the amount of time required for those things to get accomplished. When I start to talk about a collaborative divorce the concern is that it looks like the team with its initial retainers upfront seems very expensive. That is until we get a chance to really fill in the gaps regarding how much control the clients really have over the time and money that’s spent on the process.
Clients Control the Timing and the Cost
All of the affirmative responsibilities about being transparent and open are clues that the clients themselves are in control. If the amount of work that they want to put in at the very beginning is intense, then they’re going to get an immediate reward for that in the amount of progress that they make. If they’re not ready and they need to take time or there’s something about the timing of the process of divorce that doesn’t fit within the family dynamic for the children or elderly relatives, all of that can be coordinated by the clients.