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I kept the cost of my divorce to $4895 – total


And although alongside this (never instead of it) I took on a little more of the caring for our kids, their dad was super involved and had periods of reduced earnings as well.

There was equal involvement and contribution – we always made sure of it.

Note that the word ‘contribution’ is key.

Say you instead, unfortunately, had to get the court to determine your asset split – getting to that point is a very costly endeavour, presuming you first fail at mediation, then significant legal negotiations, and finally, you require representation in court.

Plus, the court will assess all you have given to the marriage or de facto relationship.

Child raising is valued and valuable. Indeed, I’ve heard of several instances lately of women who’ve given up career and income opportunities because of it, going for 70 per cent of the assets.

So, anyone who thinks they will get the bulk of the money because they brought in the bulk of the earnings should think again. A contribution is not just financial.

The legal process

In my case, because we are still scrupulously financially fair to each other, we saved on securing a lawyer for the expensive part: deciding how to divide our assets.

With this amicably agreed, all that was required was a consent order to formalise that agreement.

But, even if you agree on the contents of that order, you can’t share a lawyer. Each party needs to have their situation and solvency protected.

Now, we could have opted to make a binding financial agreement without lawyers, but consent orders are more watertight.

If you can’t agree on your settlement, or one person gets greedy, it’s going to cost everybody but the lawyers.

They have to be approved by the court so any special provisions or unusual financial imbalances must be justified to its satisfaction.

Incidentally, there is no parenting agreement in our consent order as we have an excellent (and flexible) private arrangement: we usually just alternate weeks.


The drafting of our consent order cost one party $6600 and the other respondent party $2200 to basically double-check it. And we split this cost 50:50: $4400 each.

The property

Back in our early 20s, while living overseas, we bought an investment property.

Then when we returned home, we set about working our way up to a family home – with a modest apartment stepping stone – in which to raise kids.

I am very grateful that we had two, or one each.

But they were too far away from each other, so we sold the investment and bought a second house a matter of blocks from the first (by the way, keeping that proximity was fabulous for the kids and our organisation of them).

So there was stamp duty on the new home, which we just factored into the 50:50 split. This wasn’t a function of the divorce but simply a divestment, and it was time we sold anyway.

Ditto for the conveyancer we shared to officiate the new property purchase and also the small loan I took out to contribute to it as I stayed in the slightly more valuable family home (yes, after writing my latest book, How to Get Mortgage-Free Like Me, I am happily embarking on a fresh journey to outright home ownership – this time individual).

We split this cost equally too. And note there is no stamp duty to pay on title transfers due to divorce.

But if you can’t agree on your settlement, or one person gets greedy, it’s going to cost everybody but the lawyers.

  • Advice given in this article is general in nature and is not intended to influence readers’ decisions about investing or financial products. They should always seek their own professional advice that takes into account their own personal circumstances before making any financial decisions.

Nicole Pedersen-McKinnon is the author of How to Get Mortgage-Free Like Me. Follow Nicole on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

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