If you and your spouse divorce by using mediation instead of litigation, you will likely save a ton of money. In my experience, couples who go through mediation in California generally spend between $5,000 and $12,000 from start to finish. This is quite a bargain compared to the full legal representation method in which you and your spouse each hire attorneys with hefty retainers ($5,000 to $10,000) and eye-popping hourly rates ($375 to $650). If a trial is involved, you and your spouse can easily spend $30,000 to $50,000 each and in some cases hundreds of thousands of dollars.
There is a misconception that if you use a mediator to get divorced, no one will look out for your legal and financial interests. While your neutral mediator cannot provide legal or financial advice, nothing is stopping you from getting advice. In fact, most mediators encourage both spouses to have a couple of meetings with a family law attorney and a financial expert so each spouse is knowledgeable about their rights and options and can negotiate from a level playing field.
Since you are saving money using mediation instead of the standard litigation process, you will have in your divorce budget the ability to hire a consulting attorney and a certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA) to ensure you get the legal and financial information you need to make solid decisions on issues that will impact the rest of your life.
Clients hire me to be their CDFA to:
Gain knowledge to help them confidently negotiate a financial settlement.
Explore how property division proposals might impact their future.
Understand the impact of child and spousal support on their budget and lifestyle.
Avoid big mistakes that could hurt them financially for years to come.
For individuals going through divorce mediation, I provide high-quality and affordable financial preparation, planning and analysis via a $999 flat-fee package called Mediation Money Mentor. Email me at email@example.com to schedule a brief phone consultation to learn if this service is right for you.
Laurie Itkin is financial advisor, certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA), and author of the Amazon best-seller, Every Woman Should Know Her Options. She has provided financial preparation, planning, and analysis to individuals and couples in more than 130 divorce cases throughout California. Subscribe to her monthly newsletter or contact her to schedule a brief phone consultation at firstname.lastname@example.org or 858-220-4736.