A Yardstick for Divorce Costs

If you're contemplating divorce, there's a part of you that's extremely interested in what the process might wind up costing you. Most people immediately think 'expensive', and it certainly can be, if one or both partners are stubborn and close-minded. But couples should keep the price of their wedding in mind when comparing the cost of undoing it.

According to Lawyers.com, depending on your particular situation, the total costs for divorce here in Nevada typically run between $4,000 and $30,000. The average cost of a divorce for a couples without any minor children is $13,700, which rises to $19,000+ if there are serious issues with property division or spousal support. If minor children are involved, the average cost is $20,600. Attorneys's fees are, on average, $10,800.

Compare those costs to what you might spend in mediation. Assume the mediator's fee is $250 per hour, both for any sessions you have and the time spent drafting your agreement or preparing your court documents. Because I feel people run out of energy after a certain length of time, I try to keep each session to two hours. If the couple has prepared for the mediation, and/or if they have done any homework I've asked for, as a rule of thumb, a divorce for a couple with no minor children should require two sessions, or 4 hours, while one for a couple with minor children should need three sessions. Document preparation may require a further 2 or 3 hours of the mediator's time.

This is not written in stone. Some couple are not only prepared but very willing to negotiate. They may need less time than mentioned. Others may need more. Keep in mind that the time for the mediation is completely couple-dependent. As the mediator, I am there to assist you and have no vested interest in the time you both spend with me. If you address your issues quickly and thoughtfully, you'll be done quickly.

Using the rule of thumb given above and assuming a couple has minor children, their mediation costs would come to $2250. Court filing costs are $299, which means divorce papers could be prepared for submission to a judge for about $2550. Compare that total to the average costs given above. The fee for mediation looks much more reasonable after doing so, no?

Lawyers.com is a service from Martindale-Hubbell, which has been the world's leading source of information for the legal profession for more than 140 years


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