Pursue a Peaceful Solution Schedule a Free Consultation

How to Save Money and Affirm Life by Mediating Your Divorce

Rachel Alexander Aug. 25, 2016

{4:24 minutes to read} No one wants to spend more money than absolutely necessary on their divorce. No one has a divorce account. There is no particular tax benefit or refund for fees spent on divorce.

My clients represent a whole range of economic resources, but no matter what their financial situation, they do not want [or need] to spend money unnecessarily on their divorce. So, I want to invite you, who are thinking about divorce, to give some careful thought to where you want to invest your resources:

Are you willing to set aside $40,000 or $50,000 each to pursue an adversarial process?

If you could finalize your divorce for under $10,000, are there things you would do that could bring delight?

Could that money be used for something restorative or rejuvenating, once the divorce process is complete?

What could be done with an extra $20,000-$40,000 to spend? Pursuing the adversarial process can easily cost that much and more. Instead of wasting money on litigation, how about:

  • Spending a week in Nantucket;

  • Paying off credit-card debt;

  • Paying for summer camp for the next few summers;

  • Plumping up college savings;

  • Taking the kids apple picking this fall and letting them pick too many apples, without protest;

  • Getting a massage once a month;

  • Saying “yes” more often to the children, and yourself, for small indulgences;

  • Eating out one extra night a month;

  • Saving the whales, or helping to anyway;

  • Treating an elderly relative to his plane ticket to visit you;

  • Keeping the domestic help you would otherwise be giving up;

  • Keeping your gym membership;

  • Taking a vacation with friends;

  • Going to that spa or baseball camp or yoga retreat on your wish list;

  • Creating an account for those “incidental” expenses that always arise and cause stress—e.g.travel soccer fees, hotel rooms, uniforms for cheerleading, party dresses, interview clothes, birthday party gifts—and use its existence to reduce your anxiety over money.

The idea is to link up that game of what would you do if you had x amount of found money with saving money in your divorce.

No one (apart from a sadist) would pay $40,000 for a stressful, painful, acrimonious, protracted, loss-of-control, bilious experience. No one would knowingly pay to have pain, drain their family resources—both financially and emotionally—and incur stress and debt that bleeds into every area of life, at least for a time.

Managing the conflict of divorce through mediation substantially reduces angst and cost. Mediation simultaneously increases possibilities for creative resolutions while addressing and managing sources of stress. This is good for the family and good for the pocketbook.

Spending money can be a pleasure, not a trauma. When families spend money wisely—in order to save money—they maintain more control of their lives.

You are invited to start thinking about what money can be happily used for. Having several thousand dollars could really be a pleasure, and could, if it’s used thoughtfully, be life-enhancing. The idea is to use money for life affirming rather than life draining endeavors. Having a bit of extra money post-divorce is antidotal for the money-fear that tends to follow a divorce.

Divorce or no, dream a little bit about what would be happy and fulfilling. Save your money by avoiding an adversarial process. Approach your divorce laparoscopically, where you use funds judiciously to further resolution. Put the savings toward something that brings peace, joy, and, above all, happiness.