Cutting The Cost Of Divorce

cheap divorce alternatives

When we think about divorce, we generally think about the emotional cost of it.  The strain, and by definition the termination of the relationship between the spouses, the heartache and years of therapy needed for the children and the pitting of friends and family members against one another as they take sides.

We also think of one financial aspect almost exclusively and who gets what. The house, the cars and other liquid assets are fiercely fought over. Many times these items are used as a weapon in an attempt to carve a wound in the other spouse rather than for pecuniary gain.

However, one cost that is often not brought front and center is the actual cost of the proceeding itself.  The legal costs associated with a standard divorce range between either $10,000 to $20,000 in one estimate or between $15,000 and $30,000 in another.  Whichever estimate is more correct, they are both still very expensive. This kind of expense can turn an already ugly situation into a truly disastrous one.

In fact, this huge expense can leave many in a quandary, and force couples to split up without going through the proper formalities. While this type of arrangement may solve the personality problems between the couple, it leaves open a host of potential land mines going forward both financially and legally.

There are a number of alternatives however, that can cut the cost of finalizing a divorce and tying up all of the loose ends legally and financially between the couple.  Christy Rakoczy at MoneyCrashers has put together a list of alternatives to the traditional expensive divorce proceedings. Her options include:

  • Do-It-Yourself Divorces
  • Flat Fee Divorces
  • Mediation
  • Collaborative Divorces
  • Arbitration

What each of these options have in common is that they allow you to avoid a litigated divorce. A litigated divorce is one where you ask the judge to make a decision on the division of assets and debts, spousal and child support, or custody. As soon as you begin to battle your divorce issues in court, this is when expert witnesses may become involved and when your legal fees and court costs go through the roof.

However, if you explore an alternative to a litigated divorce, you and your spouse can come to a decision on divorce issues without the influence of a judge. The process is less time-consuming so you won’t have to pay for as many hours of your lawyer’s time, and the speed at which things are resolved is up to you.

You can learn more about each of these alternatives here.

With divorce rates at around 50% for all marriages, unfortunately, thinking about these issues will become something that many of us will have to do during our lifetime. With this information, at the very least you might be able to mitigate the financial damage that such a devastating event will play in your life.

Additionally, you need to think about your finances and credit after the divorce as well. Be sure to check out our article on how divorce affects your credit here.

If you’ve been through a divorce, let us know by commenting below, how much it cost you, and if you could have saved money by using one of these alternatives.


About Anthony Candella

Anthony is the founder and Directing Attorney of and has been helping consumers just like you understand and improve your credit and financial situation since 2003.