Cost of divorce in Massachusetts
by Amy Saunders
This is often the first question for anyone considering a divorce. How much is it going to cost me to get a divorce? Unfortunately, the answer isn’t a simple one.
It is important to keep in mind that traditional divorce is not always the right path for everyone. A divorce can be achieved for as little as $1,000 to $1,500. My most recent divorce mediation was completed in as little as 2 weeks at a cost of $1,250. We will discuss these options later in this article.
For a traditional, contested divorce, our firm aims to keep our cases between the $3,000 to $5,000 range. However, the generally accepted figure is somewhere between $15,000 and $20,000 when the matters involve and high-value real estate, child custody issues, and diversified assets. This is due to adversarial relationships, the need for costly analysis, appraisals, and pension fund experts. The key to preventing a bad situation for your future is to educate yourself and make decisions you will be happy with 5 years from now.
Alternatives to divorce include mediation, collaborative divorce and Caribbean divorces (also know as one-day divorce). If both parties feel they can agree to a collaborative divorce and mediation — fees can be limited to the $1,000-$1,500 range. The role of a mediator is to represent both parties interests equally. The mediator can be considered a representative for both parties providing a fair and equal agreement in the best interests of both sides. In these cases – a divorce tends to be a healthier experience.
A one-day divorce involves appearing in court in the Caribbean where the divorce is legal and binding on the same day with no waiting period. A Caribbean divorce costs about the same as a traditional divorce including all travel, hotel and transfers — around $5,000.
Click here to read about divorce in the Caribbean and Guam.
The Real Cost of Divorce
The real long-term cost of divorce can come from not understanding the legal and financial consequences of an unfair or poorly drafted settlement. Hidden taxes, child care costs, depreciating assets and a budget that cannot withstand the pressures of inflation will cause people to literally go bankrupt as a result of divorce. The cost of an experienced attorney, mediator and court costs, pale by comparison over time.
Collaborative or Adversarial
The primary differences in costs is whether the divorce is collaborative or adversarial. You really need to come to agreements and avoid arguing. The reason why divorce becomes expensive is when parties cannot reach an agreement. This is when decisions need to be negotiated by the attorneys and judge costing you substantial monies. The important thing to remember here is to always choose your attorney and mediator carefully. You want someone with extensive experience and someone that can create a mutual agreement in the most difficult of situations.
To view our article on the top 10 ways to save money in a divorce, click here.
Attorney Amy Saunders, Esq.
Law Office of Hanson & Saunders