Well, it's not nearly as expensive as litigation. But you should understand that you’re going to have well-trained professionals, and you're going to need to pay them. For most families, they don't have a budget for the legal services associated with divorce. And I can't tell you that it's going to be cheap. There is going to be a price tag, but it's well worth it. The difference between the price tag for this kind of divorce service versus litigation services is that you're getting real value for your money. You're not just getting a piece of paper that's a divorce judgment. In a Collaborative Divorce, first of all, you get a deep resolution that tends to last because you and your spouse are both completely content with it, or else you don't sign it. Secondly, the involvement of the mental-health and financial professionals means that you're going to learn new skills for dealing with parenting after the divorce and for managing money. So while you are going to have to pay, it's not going to be as expensive as some people might imagine. And it's going to be worth the money, or at least, that's what most of our clients tell us.
Pauline H. Tesler is a Certified Family Law Specialist with Tesler, Sandmann & Fishman in San Francisco and Mill Valley, CA. She is also a pioneer in Collaborative Divorce and devotes her practice exclusively to the collaborative model. Tesler is a co-founder of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals and the author of two books on Collaborative Divorce. She can be reached at (415) 383-5671.