with Jim Stovall
Mediation can help curtail
high cost of getting divorced
Q: Divorces can be one of life's most devastating financial hardships. What's the average cost of divorce per each spouse?
A: Costs related to divorce vary a great deal depending upon a variety of factors including how willing the couple is to share information and work to resolve the issues. An average cost might be $4,000 to $6,000 per party.
Q: How can divorcing parties curb those costs?
A: Increasingly, couples are coming to mediation before initiating any legal action against the other spouse. Since mediation is not a replacement for legal advice, agreements reached in mediation may be reviewed by an attorney before being finalized. In most cases, mediation can turn a highly litigious, expensive divorce into an uncontested matter. Reaching agreement with the help of a mediator on all the issues including custody, property division and spousal support can easily save thousands of dollars. Individuals may seek out a mediator on their own or a court may order the couple to attempt to resolve matters in mediation.
Q: What's the cost of mediation?
A: Most mediators charge between $150 and $300 per hour. A typical mediation might last four to six hours. Often these costs are split between the two sides.
Q: What are the biggest money wasters when it comes to divorce?
A: Financial challenges may contribute to a decision to divorce in the first place. The litigation process can make the financial situation even worse, especially if one or both are seeking to make the other spouse “pay” for the emotional pain that has been inflicted. Acting out of anger through the attorneys gets very expensive. Mediation can help to reduce the level of hostility so that parents can focus on the needs of the children.
PAULA BURKES, BUSINESS WRITER