Divorce is a big business in the United States. For anyone that has gone through a long, drawn-out divorce, this comes as no surprise. Every year in the U.S., there are roughly 1 million divorces, which effectively means that 2 million people are affected, not to mention children, family and friends.
But just how big is the divorce industry, you might ask? While hard to pinpoint an exact figure, it’s estimated that divorce represents an annual $28 billion industry.
Okay, that looks like an extremely large figure, but how does it compare to other industries? Well, the bridal industry is estimated to be about $2 billion annually. And in 2013, the personal computer and tablet/eReader markets were just over $38 billion and $20 billion. So, although not a pleasant subject to discuss, there is certainly big money exchanging hands in divorce.
Likely you know the direct costs of divorce — family law attorney fees, mediation costs and court-related expenses. But the industry is much bigger than that. Accountants, financial advisors, Realtors, insurance brokers, private investigators, psychologist, real estate attorneys, life coaches and a host of others all form part of the divorce ecosystem. What this means to anyone thinking of divorce is “buyer beware”. In an industry where there is so much money being made, it’s incumbent on consumers to be informed, on guard and prepared to fight for every hard earned dollar spent on divorce.
With the average divorce in this country taking about one year, if you want to save money and not swell the coffers of the divorce industry, two things are a must:
• Be as amicable as possible with your spouse before, during and after the process.
• Get through the process as fast as possible.
Actually, if you want to fast track your divorce, being amicable with your spouse is of paramount importance. I know it can be difficult — been there — but the more you can agree upon between yourselves, the less time and money you will spend on the divorce.
For example, if one of you wants the house, so be it. Agree on that point and move on. Agreement on 50/50 custody of the children? Noted. With no argument on visitation rights with the children, take note and move on to the next issue. Bottom line, work through all the issues you can agree upon — one by one — and leave the contested points to a mediator or the attorneys.
As you might imagine, any long-term marriage can be complicated. And so it was with my 24-year marriage. But with children, assets and a business involved, my divorce took four months and cost just under $30,000. If I had not followed my own advice, I can assure you that my divorce could have dragged on for a year or more and maybe cost in excess of $100,000. The way I see it, $70,000 was saved for the benefit of my children. Better that they get the money than the divorce machine.
Carlos Blanco founded Matters of Divorce www.mattersofdivorce.com to provide answers, referrals and support to people considering divorce or who recently have been divorced. He may be contacted by calling 305-908-1171 or sending email to firstname.lastname@example.org.