The Honest Going Rate for a Divorce

12 June 2007

Canadian MoneyThere are far too many examples like this one: a couple had already spent $40,000 on divorce lawyers and felt like they were no closer to resolution. Scary as that may seem, the going rate for a divorce can be higher.

Like, astronomically higher. Part of the hang-up revolved around the house. The husband wanted it and valued it at one price. The wife valued it at another. Between letters back and forth from lawyer to lawyer as well as appraisals, there was thousands more accrued.

The craziest part was that neither lawyer asked their client what they thought the house was worth. In an adversarial system, where there is a winner and a loser, this process makes sense. But the fact of the matter is that it is often the worst-case scenario, and not your average going rate for a divorce. That’s not even factoring in that it is unnecessary.

Navigating the unknown

It can be difficult to even know where to begin in the divorce process. Starting to figure out the going rate for divorce is something that is probably the furthest thing from your minds. When couples reach the mediation process, they generally feel two things.

The first is that the legal system feels like a giant black hole. It feels like the legal system gives them no control over the decisions being made. Secondly is that the entire process is a lot more expensive than ever envisioned.

Canadian Lawyer Magazine publishes an article each June called The Going Rate. This article describes the typical legal fees across Canada. The June 2016 edition examines 2016 legal fees.

Navigating the Fees

There are couples that say they have spoken with a lawyer who quoted the cost to draft their separation agreement as $2,000. But what about all of the work that goes into negotiating the separation agreement? How much does that cost?

According to the legal fees survey, the typical divorce lawyer in Western Canada will charge $16,507 per spouse in billable hours to negotiate the separation.  You will then pay your lawyer another $1,500 – $2,000 to draw up the child custody and support agreement, $2,390 for the separation agreement, and $2,085 for the divorce application.

An Edmonton Divorce Lawyer will typically charge you their hourly rate for every phone call, email, question, or comment; you may even be charged to ask questions about your bill.  According to Canadian Lawyer Magazine, an Edmonton Divorce lawyer will typically bill $21,539.50 per client or $43,079 per family.

In addition, you might also pay professional consulting fees for psychologists, mediators, actuaries, appraisers, and accountants. Assuming your lawyer charges $325 per hour, the real-time fee is $5.42 for every minute you are on the phone. It is no wonder that 60% of Canadians try to self-represent while going through a divorce.

There are also services that claim to be able to mediate your divorce for $1,500 or less. In cases such as these, you are left to fend for yourself in an extremely complicated system. Often times, these mediator reports are vague and lack experience in regards to significant issues.

With all the complications of divorce, you will need to have an expert on your side to ensure that you are asking the right questions. A low-cost mediator has an appealing price, but they may lack the experience to navigate you properly.

Don’t Always Go for Low-Cost

There are probably high-value, low-cost options out there. Generally speaking, though, the cheaper options will give you less experience and assistance.

Fairway Divorce Solutions provides a step-by-step process that is a much less expensive alternative to the traditional adversarial system and will guide you through your divorce from start to finish. Your Fairway negotiator will work closely with you and your spouse to ensure that you have had the opportunity to address the issues that matter most to you.

The going rate for divorce can cost a lot more in the wrong hands. Fairway Divorce Solutions charges a fixed fee, which we determine during the consultation. This fee is generally based on the complexity of the case and costs on average 50-60% less than traditional litigation.

In many cases, we charge less than a typical retainer fee.  If you have questions about how Fairway can help you and your spouse navigate your separation/divorce, please contact us at 1-866-755-3247.