Just In: Divorce rates at a 30 year low!?
December 6, 2016
What comes to your mind when you think of your access to legal services? Have you thought about where and how to find resources in the midst of a divorce? So last week I was listening to the radio and the hosts were discussing trends in divorce. According to some survey divorces were at an all time low last year, lowest in 30 or so years. They also said the number of marriages doubled last year from previous years. The radio hosts were super enthusiastic about those numbers and although I am an eternal optimist I’m going to be a little bit cynical here.
In the majority of divorces filed in Arkansas at least one party is self-represented. Not surprising since the median income in Arkansas for 2015 was $41,995 according to the census. $11,100 is the average cost of a divorce in Arkansas. If you have kids, the average cost jumps to $16,700. And if you don’t settle and you head to trial those numbers can double. Can you afford $11,100 in fees for legal services? I can’t. In fact, a recent study indicated that most solo and small firm attorneys couldn’t afford their own fees.
That’s just the financial restraints and doesn’t include limitations in access to attorneys and legal services. Would you be surprised to learn that there are counties in Arkansas without access to an attorney? As far as the number of marriages doubling I’m sure the extension of equal legal rights to individuals pursuing same sex marriages had a lot to do with that.
Do these depressing statistics mean you are doomed to be locked into an unhappy, unhealthy marriage until you hit the lottery? Absolutely not! As attorneys, we work for you and as legal consumers you are not only demanding better access to legal help but at reasonable rates. You don’t have to decide whether you want quality legal help or random Internet forms at a lower cost. You can have both. You can unbundle your legal services.
Unbundling is limited lawyer assistance. Think of it this way… most TV providers offer a bundled package, which includes TV, Internet, and phone service. So if you need all of those things, great. However, I know no one with a landline phone so most people don’t really need that option. Those people unbundle the package and just do TV and Internet. Unbundled legal services work the same way. You don’t pay for what you don’t need.