I’m often asked, “How much is this process going to cost?” It is difficult to answer this question because so much of it depends on how much of my time is necessary to address your needs. There are some ways to reduce your costs:
- Know your high-level goals: Regardless of the process you have selected for your divorce or legal separation, your high-level goals are important as they can be the basis of agreements that align with your true needs. If you need help creating your high-level goals, I can provide resources and support to help you determine what really matters. High-level goals can change as the process moves forward and I will periodically check in with you to see if they need to be adjusted. By knowing your high-level goals, you will be better equipped to make proposals that help you to move forward efficiently.
- Prioritize your needs: When you focus on your needs (e.g., transportation, housing) rather than positions (e.g., I must have car I’ve been driving, I must remain in the family home), more options for resolution can be created. It is helpful to know and be able to articulate your needs, where you are willing to give, and where you are not willing to give. Doing so may reduce the amount of time you spend in mediation or joint sessions
- Be open to communication: Those who can reach some agreements outside of mediation or Collaborative joint sessions are often able to spend less time with professionals helping them make those decisions. Less professional time equals lower costs. While I encourage conversations between meetings, if one party asks to discuss a certain topic during a mediation or Collaborative joint session, their request should be honored.
- Do your homework: At the end of each mediation or Collaborative joint session, you will receive a list of homework items. These are important tasks that, if completed, will help your process remain on track.
- Keep a list of open issues and questions: Use a notepad, Word document, sticky note, or the like to keep track of all your questions and ask them during the next meeting. Time spent on emails adds up quickly. To reduce this cost, save your questions for the next meeting unless the answer is needed right away.
At the end of the day, those who are able to work more efficiently and effectively together will be able to keep their costs lower.