Today I’m going to talk about something that we all think about a lot but that nobody likes to talk about, especially within families, and that we need to talk about more. Yep! I’m talking about money. Family crisis is so stressful, I don’t believe in adding to that stress by creating another financial burden or financial uncertainty about what it’s going to cost to have your family conflict resolved. If you ask most family law lawyers how much a divorce is going to cost, they cannot give you an answer. “It all depends” they’ll say, “how complicated is the matter? How much do you and your spouse agree upon? How mad are you at your spouse? I don’t know how many hours it’s going to take for me to resolve you matter” they’ll tell you. But that doesn’t make sense to me, it doesn’t make sense to give any economic insensitive to make your life miserable by dragging things out. It’s also not the way people typically buy things. Doctors don’t bill hourly, they charge you a fixed fee for your office visit or surgery. Lawyers want you to believe that they can’t predict your fee, but I say if they won’t tell you how much it’s going to cost, then find a lawyer who will.
There’s a budget for every divorce, or paternity action, or whatever the family law matter that you are involved in is. It’s so important for you to know what your budget is, to understand what it means to have a budget. If you don’t understand that if you want to fight, and litigate, and get revenge, and have a judge decide everything, you’d better have an unlimited budget. On the other hand, you have so many options to you that are less costly if you can cooperate, collaborate, or even approach the issue with respect and compassion for the person you are in conflict with: you’re going to greatly reduce the cost of your family law process. It is very hard, but it’s also very cost effective. It’s kind of similar to the purchase of a vehicle to me, hopefully you have a budget for that; if you cannot afford a Maserati then you don’t purchase a Maserati. Now you may be able to do better than the 10 year old clunker with 150,000 miles on it, but there’s a very broad range of very simple vehicles between those two. Believe it or not the same is true in a family law process, and so what I hate to see happen to people in family conflict is that they don’t realize they’re buying a Maserati, they don’t have the budget for a Maserati, but they get into the case, the litigation goes out of control because of course you cannot control what the other side does in litigation and before you know it you’re in for a Maserati, and you’re going to be paying for it for a very long time. And the outcome of your family law matter’s not going to be any better in fact it might be worse. So you have to consider your budget, your objectives, and know that you don’t have to write a blank check to a litigator to get divorced. So what are some of your options? Well, you are your spouse could do a kitchen table divorce, where you and your spouse agree on everything that you can, and then you can pay me a fixed fee to have your agreement written up and filed with the court. Or you can hire me to mediate with you and you spouse, and then you can filed an uncontested dissolution, or you can have a lawyer do that for you, again for a fixed fee. You could choose a collaborative divorce. All of these things will cost you less both financially and emotionally, so if you’re considering a divorce the first thing you need to consider is your budget, how much can you afford to spend on this? If you have any questions please call me, I can be reached at (386) 271-8044 and there’s tons of information on my website at www.masterscdc.com