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Written by Judy Morse

What is the real price of divorce?

“It’s important to understand the price of divorce far exceeds the immediate financial costs,” says Michael Juilfs, financial neutral advisor. “The ramifications of a high-conflict divorce can affect the emotional state of both parents and children . . . You may not know how much the cost of that damage will be until much later.”

The cost of divorce may include strained relationships with friends and family. Most people would spend twice as much money if they could spare their children even a minute of fear, anger, and/or despair. With proper planning and carefully chosen actions, damage control will be minimal.

The Price of Divorce in Dollars

Collaborative divorce often saves money because couples choose to work together, even during a time when they are learning how to no longer live together. Collaboration means your divorce is “uncontested,” so you can save time and money. Some of the most expensive divorces involve child custody battles between parents, and this just isn’t something that happens in the Collaborative Process.

The price of divorce also depends on the U.S. state in which you live and the county or judicial area. Arizona divorce attorneys usually charge by the hour because there is simply no one-size-fits-all divorce. The least expensive divorce is one in which there is no litigation and no legal arguments to be decided by a judge.

Fees and Costs

“Quick and easy divorce! You only pay $299. Call now!” screams the man on the television or the woman on the billboard. That seldom – if ever – occurs.

Of course, such come-ons are partly “just to get you in the door,” warns Sari
Friedman, a New York City matrimonial lawyer. A more realistic final price tag?
Anywhere from $15,000 to $30,000, with hourly rates typically running from
$150 to $1,000.
Catey Hill, SmartMoney

In Arizona, the price of divorce may include:

  • Filing fees for each party
  • Attorney fees for one or both parties
  • Communication counseling
  • Fees for one certified copy of the final order, judgment, or decree.
  • Financial counseling
  • Expert witness fees

Although some expenses are unavoidable no matter how amicable your case may be, your uncontested, collaborative divorce may significantly reduce attorney fees and eliminate the cost of expert witnesses to testify at a contested court hearing. Again, it all depends on the intricacies of your family.

The Emotional Price of Divorce

People have different levels of stress and emotions during the divorce process. Two known factors that can drive the emotional price of divorce up or down include:

  1. Stigma – women who work outside the home and have children in daycare seem to experience a greater stigma than men. “Men in the same position often attract support and compassion,” says
  2. Resolution – After the divorce, women feel less stress and are better able to cope with this new lifestyle than men. Women also feel better about themselves. Men have more adjustment problems and more negativity about divorce, perhaps because of
    • Interruption of the parental role
    • Loss of intimacy
    • Loss of social connections
    • Reduced finances

The communication coaching available with a collaborative divorce enables men and women to improve their communication during the process, which can help them to feel better emotionally. Positive discussions can include financial budgeting, shared parenting, and responsibility divisions.

Children Also Pay the Price of Divorce

Research shows the negative effects of divorce on children is “greatly exaggerated,” continues Children who suffered depression and behavior difficulties post-divorce often had those issues pre-divorce. What causes children of divorce to suffer more, emotionally? Conflict. The children who attain a good balance post-divorce are often the children of parents who communicate effectively and respectfully with each other. Children are unbelievably resilient and ultimately if you and your spouse are happy, the kids will be happy as well.

Collaborative Divorce: Emotionally Cost-Effective

Couples considering divorce should consider the collaborative process to help them manage the financial, social and emotional costs of their divorce. You can transition from being a twosome to a single life, with as little trauma as possible. You’d think collaborative divorce would cost more, not less.

The divorce professionals at Best Legal Choices can help keep the emotional price of divorce to a minimum. Our communication coaches, finance-neutral guidance, and knowledgeable, experienced attorneys can assist you as you work together for your family’s benefit. And what’s the value of your peace of mind? Well, it’s priceless.