If you’ve experienced divorce or know someone who has, you know that it can be a costly experience. The cost of divorce isn’t decreasing, especially as our nation deals with inflation and prepares for other economic variables. This is going to impact the cost of a divorce as well and you’re likely to see attorney rates increase along with higher legal fees. This is unfortunate in many ways because to be honest, the divorce industry – especially traditional litigation – isn’t hurting for money. According to Divorce Corp, a documentary and expose on the family law court system in the United States, the divorce industry makes $50 billion a year.
You might be wondering why a divorce attorney is unveiling this information. Well, because I’m a divorce attorney who knows that it’s wrong. There is so much room for improvement when it comes to cost effective resources in family law. There is a way to handle divorce that is known to be healthier, more economically savvy, and less destructive than traditional divorce litigation and more people need to know about it. Out-of-court divorce processes, also known as alternative dispute resolution processes can save divorcing spouses money since they are more cost effective. These processes include Collaborative Law, mediation, and settlement negotiation. These types of divorces can also save time since they’re not involving long, drawn out battles in court.
Sometimes, I think that these options are the family law industry’s best kept secret. But then, it makes me sad to realize that they’re considered secrets at all. Everyone should know about the many benefits of processes like Collaborative Law. That’s one of the many reasons why some of my collaborative colleagues came together in North Carolina to create the North Carolina Collaborative Attorney Network, also known as NC-CAN. This organization’s purpose is to spread awareness about Collaborative Law in North Carolina. I hope that these types of organizations pop-up in states and communities nationwide so more people can learn about the benefits of Collaborative Law – especially when we talk about the financial aspect.
The Cost-Conscious Aspect of Collaborative Law
I’ve worked with many divorcing spouses who stayed in unhappy or unhealthy marriages for far too long because they were afraid of the cost of divorce. When they finally sat down with me and my legal team at AN|R Law, they were shocked that they could divorce in a more cost-effective way. Our firm, as you’ll find with most Collaborative Law firms, explains the fee schedule and quote structure during or immediately after the initial consultation. Oftentimes, when a client chooses a Collaborative Law divorce, the payment is worked out to be a flat fee.
As I work to fulfill my personal mission of changing the way divorce is handled in America, I’ve had the opportunity to speak about out-of-court methods through various platforms and at conferences across the country. This includes being interviewed in Forbes, The Washington Post, and ABC, NBC, and CBS news affiliates, as well as dozens of podcasts and vlogs. My feature in Forbes titled, Win Your Divorce By Staying Out Of Court, highlighted my work as a Collaborative Family Law attorney in eastern North Carolina with a national awareness platform. I am committed to staying out of court and with AN|R Law, my clients and I don’t resort to litigation during the divorce process.
My insight was recently referenced in another Forbes article about the financial benefit of choosing Collaborative Law options. This includes saving money and time by avoiding court appearances and/or a trial. The author, Chauncey Crail, talks about how the cost of divorce is rising in 2022 and how spouses seeking divorce can do so while keeping their budget in mind. He references Collaborative Law and cites my comments about how collaborative divorces are often cheaper because of the reduced billable time. Since the Collaborative Process is laid out at the very start, divorce clients and their attorneys stay on track with the tasks and goals for their meetings. Essentially, clients aren’t spending as much time and using as many resources as someone who is working with a divorce litigation attorney – so, it saves money in the long run.
I am truly honored to practice a type of law that puts our clients first and isn’t primarily focused on racking up billable hours. When we look at that statistic from Divorce Corp stating the divorce industry makes $50 billion a year, it shows me that there is a lot of room for improvement for family law in the United States. I recently wrote about how this also plays a role for companies whose employees are experiencing divorce and how it’s also linked to corporate revenue loss. The truth is that divorce doesn’t have to be that way. When divorcing spouses choose an out-of-court process like Collaborative Law, they’re choosing a method that is more affordable, more efficient, and more client-centered. Clients are empowered to make their own informed decisions and their collaborative-trained attorneys are there to assist them along the way.
Financial Resources During a Collaborative Divorce
It’s also important to mention that Collaborative Law offers additional benefits to spouses during the divorce process concerning finances. The process places a large emphasis on financial planning, budgeting, and forecasting for the future. Collaborative-trained attorneys place an emphasis on dividing household incomes, assets, and debts fairly and ensuring that each spouse has a financial plan upon the finalization of the divorce. At AN|R Law, we have a step-by-step process for the creation of this plan. During this step, divorcing couples will work with their collaborative-trained attorneys to determine marital assets and to create cash flow projections. The overall financial plan will include:
- A distribution of assets and liabilities which is optimal for both partners
- A determination of how to share the cost of providing for children
- In appropriate cases, a determination of how best to reallocate income to help with the expenses of a financially dependent spouse
- A determination of how to protect as much income as possible from taxation
Another added benefit of the financial planning portion of the Collaborative Divorce process is that spouses have the option to bring in neutral experts who specialize in various areas. For example, in development of the financial plan, professionals in finance and accounting may be brought in to assist with the process. These types of financial professionals and advisors are able to provide adequate understanding of the current and future financial situation for each spouse.
If you’re located outside of North Carolina and the Collaborative Law or the Collaborative Divorce Process isn’t available near you, there may be an opportunity for you to take advantage of online divorce options. These methods, such as Hello Divorce, are now available and becoming more popular in many states. This specific process has branded itself as an easier, kinder, and less expensive way to divorce. I’m honored to be an angel investor in this company as it works to make divorce a financially-attainable option for spouses across the nation.
Divorcing Healthy with Collaborative Law
A healthy and respectful divorce is possible with out-of-court processes like Collaborative Law. AN|R Law is proud to serve North Carolina. We have four locations in Raleigh, Greenville, Beaufort, and Wilmington. Along with my legal team, we are committed to helping North Carolina families divorce in a healthy manner that protects their finances as well as the wellbeing of themselves and their children. If you’d like to connect, you can follow the AN|R social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. You can also check out my book, The Cure for Divorce Culture, and listen to my podcast, “Divorce, Healthy!” which is available on all major listening platforms.
You can learn more about working with AN|R Law: A Negotiated Resolution for collaborative divorce and other family law matters in North Carolina by reaching out to our office. You can call 252-702-4376 or fill out this online contact form.
If you’re interested in inviting me, Ashley-Nicole Russell, to speak at your next event or conference, I’d be honored to talk with you about the opportunity. I’m currently booking in-person and virtual speaking engagements for 2023. Please reach out to my team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.