Is a Collaborative Divorce less expensive than a traditional Divorce?
A Collaborative Divorce may be less expensive but not necessarily. The total cost of a Collaborative Divorce depends on a number of factors. These factors include the difficulty and number of issues to be resolved, your attorney’s hourly rate, the costs of getting the necessary data or information, and amount of time your attorney and other professionals need to spend on the file. Attorneys’ rates vary. In addition, there may well be different rates for other attorneys or legal assistants who work on your file in addition to the lead attorney. It is reasonable to expect a clear explanation of the attorney’s billing policies. Further, it is reasonable to expect the billing policies to be confirmed in writing.
The costs can include court costs (e.g. filing fees or judgment fees) or office costs (e.g. copying, long distance telephone calls, postage, etc.).
The cost of other helping professionals on your team will also affect your total expenses. These could include your divorce coach, a child specialist, or your neutral financial specialist. In addition, there may be appraisals, actuarial analysis, or other experts to help analyze the case.
Most attorneys and professionals will charge you for the time spent in conference, preparation for conferences, telephone calls, and document production. While there are many factors which affect the total cost, far and away the biggest factor is how quickly agreement is reached.
Of course, you would have attorney fees, appraisal expenses, court costs, etc., in a traditional (adversarial) divorce as well. No one can predict those costs either. In analyzing the costs of various options, don’t overlook the emotional cost of a protracted battle or the frequent fall-out of the adversarial process: continuing, on-going conflict in the future.