The Cost of Separation

I didn't realize what it would cost to get a divorce.

the cost of separation

When my ex and I started talking about divorce, I had no idea what an average divorce cost.

When we asked around, we got everything from a few hundred to tens of thousands of dollars. Needless to say, we panicked. We don’t have tens of thousands of dollars! We don’t even have thousands! So for us, going to a mediator to do up the separation agreement and ultimately file the divorce paper work made the most sense. Lawyers, even in our more rural area, are charging up to $500 per hour. That’s $500 per hour each. Now, if we had assets and a lot of disagreements over who gets what and who owes what and who does what, we might not have had any choice but to go to that route, but luckily, we don’t have much. (I knew there had to be a silver lining in that somewhere!) Cost for our mediator in Ontario (outside of Toronto)?  $175 per hour. It took two, one-hour sessions to get the basics, paperwork, and financials listed for her, as well as the ‘parental plan’ with regards to our daughter. The mediator then writes up the agreement, presents it to us, we read it, and if we agree, sign it. All of which costs how much? Unfortunately, we had no idea. She would not even give us a ballpark figure. It’s something we should have asked BEFORE we started the process, but this whole divorce business had me thrown for a loop. I just wasn’t thinking with my ‘business’ hat on when we first met her—I suspect her attitude comes from years of telling people a ballpark, ending up taking longer, and therefore charging more. But nonethless, we are operating on a small budget so "I don’t know what it will be" is a tough answer. Not worse than $500 per hour, but tough. We are also taking a perhaps unusual step: we are waiving our right to have a lawyer review the agreement before we sign. That would be at least another $500- $600 each and as we fundamentally agree on everything, we don’t see the need. But if we didn’t? Add that to the costs. So if you go this route, see if they can give you a ballpark on the final amount you will have to pay when you sign. It’s hard to budget “I don’t know.” As we are selling our house as part of all this and it closes soonish, our mediator is agreeing to have our real estate lawyer disperse funds to her on the close of the sale, so we don’t have to come up with unknown amounts of cash. But that might not be available to you, so find out what you’re in for up front. And good luck!

Single Mother, daughter. writer, editor, publisher.