A child's hands lay in their parents hands while holding a jar of change. The text overlay reads "Reducing Divorce Costs: Saving for What Truly Matters"

If you have talked to anyone getting a divorce, it’s likely you heard about the extensive costs involved. It may have led you to wonder how anyone can save money on a divorce in Nova Scotia? For those who don’t qualify for legal aid assistance, and those who do not wish to attempt a do-it-yourself separation agreement (which is frequently found by judges to not be legally binding), the costs can be extensive. Most lawyers will take a retainer, and then bill you in 6-minute increments for things like emails, phone calls, meetings and paperwork preparation. If you still haven’t come to an agreement and are left going to court, a single day may cost you in legal fees for the process on average $20,000 per day of court.

You can start by exploring alternative methods of divorce. When buying a car or purchasing a home, it’s likely you did a lot of research, take the time to research the options for your divorce as well. There are other alternatives to traditional representation. Some lawyers offer legal coaching and some work as legal mediators.

A woman is researching "how to save money on my divorce" and is learning about a method called legal coaching.

A DIY model with a legal coach may be your best option. Filing paperwork entirely on your own may not be the best solution as without proper legal knowledge, you may omit crucial details in your separation agreement which can lead to misunderstandings and disputes in the future. A legal coach will help you self-represent. They help you prepare court documents and draft letters under your signature to the other lawyer or the other spouse. 

Legal coaching allows you to control how much you spend. There is no retainer, you just pay at the appointment for the amount of time you need.

At Teryl Scott Lawyers Inc. we have seasoned legal professionals who offer legal coaching. We provide clients with personalised guidance and support as they navigate the complexities of divorce proceedings. Teryl Scott’s legal coaching services offer a cost-effective and empowering alternative for individuals seeking clarity and strategic guidance during the challenging process of divorce in Nova Scotia.

In situations where both parties are able to tolerate some discussion, creating a separation agreement with a mediator can save you not just money, but time and privacy as well. Divorce mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution where a neutral third party, known as the mediator, helps individuals or parties in a legal conflict reach a mutually acceptable agreement. The mediator does not make decisions for the parties but assists them in communicating, identifying issues, and exploring possible solutions.

Often mediations are efficient at resolving issues in a prompt manner, which correlates to saved time and money but there are other savings as well. Your privacy is maintained as when your divorce is kept out of the courtroom, it is kept out of public record. In addition to this, many find they are saved from the emotional strain that comes from high costs and tense court battles. 

Teryl Scott offers three distinct divorce mediation packages in Nova Scotia for varying levels of conflict and communication. A simple half hour consultation with our experienced mediator will allow them to assess which of the three programs you would be suited for. Once this assessment is done, a free 15 minute phone consultation is given to onboard the other party and then you can have peace of mind that you can move forward with set timelines and a flat fee.

A man is on a video conference for a divorce mediation session. Something he learned about when researching "how to save money on my divorce"

Yes, mediation can still be a cost-saving option for you. Mediations can be facilitated without you and your partner having to be in the same place. The mediation sessions are held through video conferencing and breakout rooms can be used to help parties feel more comfortable, safe and in a space of reduced stress. The mediator visits both rooms as a neutral party and gives you guidance on what is fair and reasonable.

If you are concerned that you won’t be able to agree on everything in the mediation, you can sign a contract before you start stating that any unresolved issues can be settled in front of a judge in a single binding settlement session. This means that the judge will be the one to decide the outcome of the unresolved item, based on the law and precedents of cases before yours. Once this happens your separation agreement will be complete and you can move forward.

Teryl Scott offers this option for clients in higher conflict situations and includes the paperwork needed for the settlement conference as part of the mediation package. Included in the flat fee are all of the necessary mediation sessions as well as this paperwork for you to take to the judge should you not be able to resolve the issues. Sometimes, the settlement conference is not needed, but you will be prepared just in case.

One of the major factors in a complicated (resulting in more costly) divorce is emotion. If you can agree to try to approach the divorce in a problem solving or collaborative mindset there will be many benefits. If there are children involved, it can save a lot of pain for them to see their parents acting amicably. Even without children, if you can reduce some of the emotion, you can focus on the facts, what’s fair, and the law. Not only will these have personal benefits, but they will save time and money.

Sometimes, if there has been serious harm, it can be beneficial to bring therapists into the process. You may think that this would increase your costs, but if the therapists can help you communicate better and start to heal, you may be able to avoid a courtroom situation, which could potentially end up saving you tens of thousands. 

At Teryl Scott when we say we would like to help you achieve your best possible outcomes, we mean that in all areas of your life. We care about your well-being and the well-being of your family. That is why we have partnered with some high conflict therapists who know our collaborative mediation process. If we feel it will be beneficial to you, we may recommend, and sometimes we require it, to help achieve the outcomes of an amicable separation and divorce.

The above is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice — contact a lawyer to discuss your personal circumstances and learn your options.

Teryl Scott Lawyers Inc. Related Services

To learn more about our services in mediation, please visit our Divorce Mediations page. You can also visit our Legal Coaching page to learn about our DIY legal services.

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