We blog about helping Long Island families to resolve conflicts in the most productive ways possible.

Nov 4, 2015BY: Harriette Steinberg

Your Divorce Fees: Are You Penny Wise and Pound Foolish?

Money is on everyone’s mind these days. So it is only natural for anyone contemplating a divorce to ask, “What will a good lawyer cost me?”

But the answer is not simply a matter of dollars and cents. It depends not only on the attorney you hire, but also on your basis for selecting the attorney and how ready both divorcing parties are to negotiate with civility in the family’s overall best interests.

If your bottom line is your sole line of reasoning, you could be making a serious mistake.

When clients are driven by the cost factor, they just want an attorney with the lowest fee estimate, regardless of whether that attorney is suited to their communication style, needs and divorce goals.

Some people skip the attorney entirely and choose a non-attorney professional mediator to work out the provisions of their divorce, in hopes of avoiding legal fees. However, a mediator is by definition a neutral facilitator who cannot consider the interests of each party. As a result, mediation can become an extremely costly option in the long run – and not the cost-reduction strategy the couple hoped for.

Both approaches often prove to be shortsighted. Here’s why.

  • In addition to an attorney’s or mediator’s hourly rate, one or more of the following factors generally drive-up the cost of divorce
  • Both parties’ attitudes and behaviors, including keeping appointments
  • Issues in the divorce case that represent unrealistic client expectations
  • Parenting issues that can raise complex questions
  • Financial details of the marriage that may require forensic work
  • In a traditional litigation environment, the only people who can predict whether there will be conflict escalation are the divorcing parties. And frequently, they cannot possibly make an accurate determination of the time required. The strategic details of a divorce case do not reveal themselves until the process is in full operation.

If you are really interested in a predictable and sane financial and emotional outcome, consider Collaborative Divorce as a viable and proven alternative to litigious attorneys or a mediator.

Collaborative Divorce is designed to fully address all of both parties’ issues and, perhaps most important, to regulate the emotional climate of the divorce. Wouldn’t you and your family benefit from toning-down the drama and stress of divorce as well as the expense?

Here’s how Collaborative Divorce works.

At the start, each party expressly promises not to litigate, which can save substantial legal fees. While each party has their own attorney to advocate for their interests, an interdisciplinary team of trained mental health and financial professionals also supports the process with specialized expertise. Both parties are encouraged and guided to customize a settlement to meet their mutual and separate short-term and long-term needs. What could be better!

Your divorce journey is as important as your divorce destination. CDR can help you take the first step when you’re ready to begin your journey.

The author, Harriette Steinberg, is a member of the Collaborative Divorce Resolutions law group of Long Island which is an association of attorneys, family specialists and financial neutrals specializing in the collaborative process. If you would like to learn how this alternative to traditional divorce litigation can work for you, feel free to contact Harriette Steinberg. Contact information along with a brief bio can be found on the author's profile page. Simply click or tap the author's image or the "View Profile" link on this page.

Filed in: Collaboration or Litigation or Mediation

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