Everyone knows divorce is a difficult time. It puts you on an emotional rollercoaster. If that’s not enough, there are also many practical decisions to make and legal hurdles to jump.
Ultimately, you must spend some money to finalize your divorce, but you don’t have to break the bank. Here are the various approaches to a divorce along with what you can expect to pay for each.
The Cost of Doing It Yourself
You do have the legal right to manage your divorce on your own. You and your spouse can create agreements together. In this scenario, you may spend some money on how-to books and other similar resources. You can file your agreement with a court, and move on. Generally, filing for a divorce costs about $185 in Iowa.
However, it is never a good idea to manage any legally complex situation on your own. Without a qualified lawyer to guide you, you may find yourself at a significant disadvantage. You might not know your legal rights or what to expect, and this leads to costly mistakes. Simple errors can cause irreparable damage to finances and child custody arrangements. They can even prolong the length of the divorce proceedings. If you're getting divorced, you should seek experienced legal help.
The Cost of Mediation
In divorce mediation, the couple meets with a neutral third party. They discuss their needs and concerns, and the mediator helps them create a mutually beneficial divorce settlement.
In mediation, you pay only for your time with the mediator and your court filing costs.
Typically, the hourly rate for a mediator can range from $200 to $500 per hour. A simple divorce can take one meeting to clear up, lasting between 3 to 5 hours. More complex divorces will require more meetings.
The Cost of a Collaborative Divorce
A collaborative divorce is usually less costly than a courtroom divorce, but it can still be quite expensive.
Each spouse hires an attorney. They meet with their respective attorneys to express their needs and concerns. Then, everyone meets together to create a divorce agreement.
You may need to hire other professionals, such as accountants or child custody specialists. Every professional you include will ask to be paid for their time. This will include any research they do outside of the meeting.
Though costly, collaborative divorce has many advantages. It allows everyone to work together, and it removes the “win or lose” aspect of many divorces. Having a collaborative divorce means agreeing to all aspects of the settlement, as no court demands you do one thing or another.
The Cost of a Courtroom Divorce
Your most expensive option is taking your divorce to court. On average, a litigated divorce can cost anywhere between $15,000 and $30,000.
This includes legal fees for both parties, as well as court costs and other related expenses. Additionally, the longer the divorce takes, the higher the costs will be.
Of course, there are benefits to spending this money. At the best of times, divorce can be contentious. This fact is particularly true when one party refuses to cooperate, or a spouse must protect themselves from an abusive relationship. Sometimes, it’s simply best to let the law handle your divorce, so you can move forward.
Whatever option you choose, The Law Offices of Mark R. Hinshaw, PLC is here to help. Our team can also help guide you to the best options when you are unsure. For a free consultation, call (515) 200-7571today or contact us online.