Lower Cost and Conflict Divorce Options

No two couples follow the same path to divorce. Every couple has different life experiences and faces different decisions. So, there is no reason why every couple should go through the same divorce process. New Mexico family law provides a number of options for dissolving a marriage, and you should know what process will help you acquire a divorce with the least cost and conflict possible.

Conflict Drives Cost

Popular media fuels the perception of divorce as a financially crippling event, at least for one party. However, divorces need not be financially devastating. In fact, in cases that do not involve minor children where both parties mutually agree on everything, a couple may acquire a divorce without any legal counsel at all. Even when minor children are involved, parties who agree on division of assets, visitation time, etc. may manage costs by consulting a lawyer to make sure all bases are covered and to review documentation (e.g. parenting plans, visitation schedules) to avoid future conflicts.
The cost of divorce increases as conflict increases and willingness to negotiate decreases. The most costly divorces are contested divorces in which parties fight over everything—from visitation schedules to who should get the treadmill—and for whom “compromise” is unacceptable.

Cost-Effective Conflict Resolution Strategies

A majority of couples may be somewhere in the middle—reasonably amicable but facing some disagreements on how property should be divided or their child(ren)’s time shared. Rather than going through contested divorce proceedings, couples may choose more cost-effective and conflict-defusing options, including:

Collaborative divorce

In a collaborative divorce, couples have a collaborative team to help them reach outcomes that meet the needs of all involved—spouses and children. Members of the collaborative team typically include:

    • Attorneys who are specially trained to work together while still advocating their client’s
    • Counselors/therapists
    • Accountants/financial experts

Because a collaborative team works toward the mutual good of everyone affected by the divorce, this option may be the least emotionally traumatizing for children.


Each divorcing party may feel more comfortable having a lawyer of their own, someone who only represents their interests. When these parties disagree, they may elect to have a neutral third party—a mediator—help them settle the dispute. A mediator may or may not be a lawyer, but regardless of professional background, a mediator does not provide legal advice.

Even for couples who find themselves in the midst of a contested divorce, the case need not be drawn out and expensive. Parties may be able to arrive at an agreement short of going to court if both parties and their attorneys are willing to negotiate.
Find a Lawyer Who Helps You Exercise Your Options
Unfortunately, some attorneys choose to focus on going to court rather than reaching resolution.  They march their clients directly to court to settle every dispute. These attorneys are not concerned with the cost to their client and may even run the risk of overlooking what is best for the child(ren) involved.
When you are looking for a divorce lawyer, it is important to find someone who will help you understand all your options and find the divorce process that works best for your situation.
Dorene Kuffer is a New Mexico family law attorney with over 30 years of experience. Dorene is a trained collaborative lawyer and mediator, so she is very knowledgeable about methods that can save clients significant amounts of money in legal fees and minimize emotional stress. However, Dorene is also a strong advocate for her clients. She is willing to negotiate with the opposing party to avoid going to court, but if a hearing is the only way to settle disputes, Dorene will aggressively fight for her client’s best interests.
For an initial consultation, please contact the Law Office of Dorene A. Kuffer.