Is getting divorced expensive?

Getting Divorced: Know your options | Help and Advice from Cotswold MediationMost people would answer a straight “yes” with the implication that the process is often out of their control:  costs escalate, emotions get in the way of rational decisions and discussions, and the lawyers end up the only beneficiaries.

However, the cost of the divorce process is actually very much in your hands – you can decide how much or how little you use your lawyer.  The more you do and the less your lawyer does will reduce your legal costs.  Law is a service you pay for like servicing your car – you do it or you get a garage to do it.

Also, of course, the more you argue, the more it is going to cost and that cost is met out of joint assets so there are less resources for everyone.

There is, obviously, the practical cost of getting divorced.  In most cases both parties will be financially worse off as a result of a divorce because they have to live in two separate households – obviously more expensive than living in one.  A house may need to be sold and smaller ones purchased, a pension may need to be divided, other family assets – whether savings or photographs or pets – have in some way to be divided and these often involve painful and costly decisions.

However, not only can you reduce the cost by using mediation, whereby you both employ one person rather than both employing a separate lawyer, but you can also reduce the cost by only using your lawyer for part of the process rather than all of the process.

You might decide to come for some initial advice and then actually make an application for a divorce or a financial decision yourself.  Or you may see a lawyer and then go to mediation and then go back to the lawyer for legal advice pertinent to your situation.  You decide how much or how little you use a lawyer and you pay accordingly.

For more information or to discuss further please contact Nicky Gough on 07711 527968 or email info@cotswoldmediation.com.

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The high cost of divorce

Father walking his childrenThere has been plenty in the press about the rising number of complaints about family lawyers, in particular to the legal ombudsman.  The main reason for those complaints seems to be the cost of divorce in terms of legal fees.  I am not going to defend the position of family lawyers here but I think anyone involved in divorce, in whatever capacity, knows that things often do not go well – there is often an over-optimistic approach and while everyone hopes that matters will be resolved amicably, sometimes they are not!  As I always say, the more people can agree between themselves, the better, not only for them personally and emotionally but also to reduce legal costs.

One thing that often gets in the way is the grudge.  One or both parties bear a grudge and they do not let it go.  I am told that US lawyers are advised to “pour honey over the heart of resentment”.  Not something that I have ever felt moved to do but perhaps it would be useful if we could all accept responsibility for times we have over-reacted to a supposed offence.  We may have to accept that bad stuff happens to good people for no reason and we all need to move forward.

In an ideal world I am sure divorcing couples would have access to divorce coaches, counsellors, psychologists, family therapists e.t.c. as well as the lawyer.  But since the lawyers alone tend to be more than people can afford, these other resources are just not going to be available.

So the question remains:  how does one move forward after a divorce?  It is easy to say forgiveness and acceptance are important criteria but the Decree Absolute or Court proceedings cannot themselves be a grudge to an end.  Part of the divorce process should allow and enable both parties to move on without any anger, resentment or bitterness that may well affect any future relationships.

For more information or to discuss further please contact Nicky Gough on 07711 527968 or email info@cotswoldmediation.com.

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