Cost of an Adversarial Divorce
(The Hard Way)
Separation and divorce can be outrageously expensive. A litigated divorce, when each person hires an attorney to advocate for their interests, averages $25,000, and cases that actually go to court may run many times higher than that.
A collaborative divorce, in which each person's attorney works towards resolution with the couple, and uses financial advisers, coaches, and other experts, will still cost $5,000 at the very least.
Cost of a Mediated Divorce
(The Easy Way)
We encourage participants in mediation to be transparent with each other about their finances, so we try to do the same.
The DFMS hourly rate is $210. Sessions are two hours and payment is made at the end of each session. There is no retainer. We accept Visa and Mastercard.
DFMS partners with you to keep the costs down by charging you only for in-person session time, as long as you have done a complete job in filling out all the necessary forms in a timely fashion, and have had at least two sessions. When those two conditions are met, there are no fees for the time the mediator spends drafting your memorandum or working with your financial information. In comparing us to other practices, ask about drafting fees and retainers.
Your cost varies depending upon many factors. If you have both custody issues and property and support concerns, those will take longer than if you have only one of the three. Other important factors include the complexity of your situation, the extent of agreement or disagreement, and your willingness to do the necessary"homework." Typically, custody/parenting plan mediation, without any financial issues whatsoever, takes two sessions.
Jump Right In. You can file your own divorce.
After you have mediated an agreement on all the issues, filing your own divorce is not difficult. Most people do not realize that they can file "pro se," meaning representing yourself, and that you are not required to see a lawyer in order to get a divorce in the state of Maryland. It is similar in difficulty to filing your own income taxes. All the forms you will need are available online at the court website, with clear instructions on what to do. Circuit courts (one in each county) are the place where divorces are handled. Every court offers some free legal assistance at specified times. For example, in Anne Arundel County, where our office is located, you can call the Family Law Self-Help Center at 410-280-5374 between 9 am and noon daily. In Howard County, the Family Law Assistance Program is open from 9 am to noon on Mondays and Wednesdays.
Even if you have a lawyer provide legal advice or review your agreement, steps we do recommend, you will still spend much less than if both partners retain attorneys for handling your divorce.