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, 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 prepari…

"First you say you do, and then you don't"

It's highly unusual to find both members of a couple at the same point on their journey to decoupling. More likely, one is ahead of the other and either feels already out of the relationship or well along the way.

This, of course, leaves the other in a quandary. Perhaps this individual only recently learned that the marriage was heading toward the rocks. Or perhaps he or she held on to slim hopes the other person would come to their senses, or the whole nightmare would magically disappear. Some believe that, if you don't talk about the problem, it goes away.

Unfortunately, it doesn't. If one of you wants to end the marriage, it will end, one way or another. Either you will try negotiating the terms of the decoupling in mediation, or the matter will end up in family court.

Until that time, the one left behind may exhibit what, on first glance, seems like odd behavior. She may state unequivocally one day that she is totally on board with divorce, only to change her mind dra…

Be Aware: Current Tax Plan Includes a Divorce 'Penalty'!

As it stands now, the ex-spouse receiving support payments (alimony) must pay tax on those payments because they are considered income. The ex-spouse paying the support payments gets a tax deduction for making those payments.
The current GOP proposed tax plan changes that. If the new plan is passed by the House and Senate, and this particular provision survives, the payee will lose the tax deduction for alimony because it will be considered to have been paid from after-tax dollars, and would be tax free for the recipient.
As to the legislators' reasoning behind this change, there are a number of possibilities. It could be that a plurality feel the current arrangement amounts to a subsidy that makes divorce more desirable, and in their (often religiously-influenced) thinking believe that turning the tables would force more couples to stay married.
But I think it's more likely that the House GOP has combed through the tax code looking for anywhere they could save money that cou…

My, How Things Have Changed

Funny, isn't it? When the bride and groom above got married, it was assumed it would be the first time either one of them would have sex.

When the couple below married, it was assumed that both had dated others before, slept with those others, maybe lived together them, and broke up, but now they were giving up all sex with other people to be true to their marriage partner.

The only way a modern couple could buy this premise was to invest their partners with almost supernatural qualities. He or she had to be The One. Each would keep the other safe, be their best friends, offer continuity and adventure, provide unconditional love and support, at the same time providing adventure, novelty, and fulfilling sexuality with excitement and edge. And this would last forever.

Many years ago, when marriage was essentially an economic union, love was not a part of the deal. When you married you increased each other's net worth with a dowry or land or estates, along with providing more pe…

Kicking the Can Down the Road

Consider a hypothetical couple, Alis and Brick. They fight a lot. In the beginning it was over Alis's spending habits but now it seems to be over everything. They rarely have two words to say to each other.

Then Brick moves out, only to beg to return a month or two later. That little dance repeats itself during the ensuing year, usually because the possibility of really 'giving up' the relationship that each invested so heavily in triggers the psychological effect of loss aversion.

You see, in humans (except, interestingly, in high-functioning autistic people) 'losses loom larger than gains'. What does that mean?

For example, imagine you purchased 100 shares each of two stocks, both selling at the same price.  Stock A has increased in value by $50/share while stock B has lost $50/share. What would be the most logical thing to do with the stocks now?

If you guessed to sell stock B and hold on to the stock that's appreciating, you'd be right logically (and t…

What Makes Mediation Work?

It's a question of attitude, isn't it? If a couple comes to mediation with the attitude that it's either 'my way or the highway', they are not going to succeed in reaching their alleged goals. So why would anyone sabotage the process that seeks to get them toward their goals?

Partly, it's fear. Call it fear of flying, because in mediation each participant takes responsibility for their own actions, offers, and acceptances. If it turns out you choose the wrong action, or accept a proposal that doesn't work out, you really have no one to blame but yourself.

I've met a number of people who just couldn't handle mediation, because they were terrified of taking responsibility for making decisions in the divorce process. Some actively sought to end the session and return to court, because it felt safer to hide in the decisions of a judge. If something didn't turn out the way they wanted it to, they could toss the blame onto the court and leave themsel…

Do You Want a Divorce?

There is a well known Zen saying that goes, The only way out is through. It is particularly apt applied to people whose marriage or relationship has eroded over time. Partners of all different sorts have wondered, "Is it time to leave?" And it is usually the knowledge of how much they have put into the relationship (although filtered by each person's particular viewpoint) that holds them back from taking the plunge.

So they soldier on, going through uncertainties and fears because they can't bring themselves to accept that all that past history cannot make up for the way they feel together today. They fear the unknown future and would rather live in the known present, however horrible.

If you're in such an eroded relationship and you're experiencing pain and anxiety, it may be time to answer the question posed above, "Yes, I want a divorce," especially if you've tried every conceivable means of trying to save it. That's the only way you get…