Some couples seeking to untie the knot are now turning to divorce mediation services as opposed to going to court. One company that specializes in this service is San Mateo, California-based WeVorce. The entire process can be done online, if the couple prefers, although it can also be done in person or a mixture of both.
The average couple pays about $4,000. The high end is about $9,000 for more complex situations dealing with trusts and retirement. Flexible payment plans are available depending on client need, with monthly installments starting at about $200 a month.
The WeVorce process consists of five steps. â€śThe first step is foundation building, where we set ground rules for how the process will go,â€ť says Jeff Reynolds, co-founder of WeVorce. If you have children, step two is parenting planning, and youâ€™re paired with a parenting expert. The third step is financial due diligence, where we collect your financial information. Fourth, we do financial mapping with a financial planner to help you work out long-term budgets. For example, if you own a business or have complex assets, then we can bring an expert that specializes in those things. We have financial planners as well as certified divorce financial analysts. Last, we do a final review,â€ť says Reynolds.
Mediation packages can save money. â€śItâ€™s a great alternative to the average cost of divorce, which could be over $20, 000,â€ť says Sharon Epperson, CNBC Senior Personal Finance Correspondent. However, Epperson notes one disadvantage of mediation packages is that you might not like every member of your team. â€śThe package saves you the legwork of having to find your own attorney, financial adviser, and counselor to help you. Itâ€™s one-stop shopping, but the downside is that not everyone on that team may be right for you. For example, you might like the financial adviser, but you might not be too keen on the mediator or vice versa.â€ť
Epperson says she is for divorce mediation packages, but that theyâ€™re not appropriate for every couple. â€śYou should both agree this is the course of action you want to take. This is not appropriate for someone who has been in an abusive relationship, or where there seems to be a real difference in power in the relationship.â€ť
Keep an eye out for the February 2015 issue of Black Enterprise, where we discuss the latest love and money trends.