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Yes, Divorce Can Be Affordable – Here’s How to Make It Happen

When it comes to divorce, most people can agree that costly legal battles are the last thing they want. According to Nicole Feuer, the vice president of development and operations for the National Association of Divorce Professionals, the average cost of a divorce is estimated to be $15,000 to $20,000, with contested divorces being even more expensive. For example, Maggie Kim has spent about $400,000 on her divorce, not including travel costs, after six years of negotiations with her former husband.

Many people find that the greatest challenge of getting divorced is dealing with overwhelming emotions, and with lawyers as expensive middlemen, every unresolved issue between a couple costs more and more money.

However, there are ways to reduce the stress and expense of ending a marriage. These options include using a document service, mediation, and collaborative divorce.

Vanessa McGrady, after realizing that there were insurmountable issues in her marriage, used the document service We the People for her divorce, and the entire process took a year and cost less than $2,000 because she had already hashed out issues with her ex before their divorce proceedings. Caitlin Steele also used a mediation service from a start-up called Wevorce, costing her $750 when she got divorced in 2017.

Collaborative divorce is another option for those with significant assets to divide and those unlikely to easily come to agreement using a document or mediation service. This process involves a lawyer, a financial professional, and a therapist working together to help the couple through the divorce process.

Like using a document service, mediation is a less expensive way to divorce but relies on a couple’s good will and cooperation for it to succeed. Erik Wheeler, a former software expert who retrained to offer mediation services to his clients, offers an initial two-hour session for $440 and estimates the total cost for a mediated divorce to be about $3,000.

For Jeff Bogle, mediation proved to be the best choice when he divorced his wife of 17 years in 2020. The former spouses negotiated who would keep the family home and other expenses at a total cost of $350 because they were aligned on all their issues and did not have a custody battle over their children.

To make divorce affordable and quick, being honest, fair, and willing to work things through without hurting each other financially is key. These approaches can save a lot of money and help people navigate the divorce process more efficiently.

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