Mediation or collaborative divorce can save money by keeping your divorce out of court — provided those methods are right for your situation.
Mediation involves working with a neutral party, who may or may not be a lawyer, to come to an agreement. As long as you reach a consensus, this can reduce costs. But if you don’t, you will need to start over.
Collaborative divorce happens when a resolution is pursued with the help of the spouses’ respective legal representation, as well as other professionals such as financial advisors or therapists. The downside is that both attorneys can no longer work on the case if you cannot come to an agreement.
The risk with these methods is that there is pressure to come to a deal, and there can be financial blind spots in the process, according to Jeffrey A. Landers, a divorce financial strategist and president of Bedrock Divorce Advisors in New York City.
You may have to take your spouse’s word on certain areas like bank accounts or closely held businesses because those records cannot be subpoenaed, he said.
“I tell my clients, ‘Look, you don’t have to agree to anything,'” Landers said. “If you can’t come to a reasonable agreement, then don’t agree to anything.”