Divorce. There’s a lot of emotional baggage tied to that word. It can leave a person emotionally raw and financially disadvantaged.
You may have seen these cheeky memes circulating on social media. ‘Love is grand. Divorce is a hundred grand.’ Or maybe you’ve heard this one: ‘At least the divorce is cheaper than the wedding.’
Funny; not funny. Especially if you are parents desperately trying to figure out how you are going to transition to two households, perhaps on one income. Or you are near retirement and wondering how your decision to separate might impact the lifestyle you have worked so hard to achieve.
There’s a reason jokes trigger reactions. It’s because of the ring of truth behind them. And unfortunately, the reality is that too many divorces take years and cost potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal bills. Many people might believe that numbers like those only apply to the rich and famous. Unfortunately, the statistics indicate otherwise.
Several legal surveys have shown that the average cost of an uncontested divorce in Canada can be between $4,800 and $6,800 per person. However, a contested divorce can start at $24,000 and depending on the circumstances, costs for divorce above $150,000 per person are not uncommon in middle-class cases where there are financial disputes.
And it’s not just the legal bills. Separation and divorce are a unique transition time where uncertainty and emotions can get in the way of making wise financial decisions.
When the decision to divorce is the right option, it is comforting to know that there are supports available to ensure better outcomes for families. Fortunately, more affordable alternative dispute resolution services are on the rise. Driven by a passion to help, mediators and financial divorce specialists are at the forefront of that movement to change the way divorce happens.
Christie Moser, CPA, CA is a chartered financial divorce specialist and the owner of Fairway Divorce Solutions locations in Airdrie, Cochrane and Calgary