The Cost of Marital Counseling vs. Divorce (Part 1)


As a so-called “small business” owner, I have come to appreciate my weekly bookkeeping responsibility. I enjoy finding something new from the numbers. This morning, I spotted two couples whom I worked earlier this year and haven’t seen them for a while because they ended the session “happily” (and hopefully, still happy as I am writing this article).

I was shocked that I was only seeing them for about 3 months.
OS: “I thought that I saw them longer than that!”

Then, I have few thoughts led to this realization but the first one was: what are the cost of marital counseling if you pay by yourself vs. the divorce. (I am using the example of self-pay for therapy because, after all, insurance policy doesn’t pay for divorce attorney and it is really all self-pay, right?)

Let’s take a look of Couple A.
(To protect the confidentiality of the couple, all the detailed information have been changed. Only the number of the sessions and the hours of the services provided are real.)CouplesTherapy

When they came to see me earlier this year, they have been divorced for about 2 years. They were referred by another couple I saw a couple years ago.

In the initial session, they told me that they were together for quite a few years before she found out she was pregnant. They got married and everything went downhill after the baby was born. The day after their baby’s first birthday, they separated. On their baby’s second birthday, they signed the divorce paper. Now, their “baby” is going to kindergarten, they wanted to know if there is a way they can work it out.

What happened? You might ask. That’s a long story for another time but here is the interesting number to know. So, I saw this couple for 12.5 hours total and this is the breakdown: 2 hours for a session for the first month (4 sessions), 1.5 hours for a session for the second months (2 sessions), and 1 session for the third months and then in the last session, they told me:

…. “We are planning our wedding again and we will be in contact once we settle into our married life again. Our “baby” is so happy to be in the wedding.”

(OS: wait….. how did this happen? I don’t think I was that good…. but, that’s beyond the point here.)

So, let’s see what’s their cost for the marital therapy.

12.5 hours x $140/hr = $1750

How much did they pay for their attorney? $10,000 for 10 hours initially as a retainer and for both of them, that is $20,000!

I am sitting here looking at my number and thinking to myself… Gee, if they have come earlier, that is a really good saving for their baby’s college fund!

(to be continued)


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