There are a number of people that seem to be in the same boat these days. The answer is not simple. If you make the decision to leave your spouse, you will likely have things that need to be resolved before you can move on with your life – that may cost some money. How much money is usually controllable if you and your spouse are on-side with trying to reduce the conflict between you.
There is a range of things you can do to keep the cost at a minimum.
Kitchen Table Discussions: Once you are separated, try to sit down with your ex to come to an agreement about as many things as you can. Even if you need assistance to get to 100% agreement, try to achieve resolution on 70-80% of your issues, then seek assistance on the final 20-30% of your matters.
Mediation: A mediator is a neutral 3rd party who will sit down with you and your spouse to help you to achieve resolution on as many separation & divorce related issues as possible. If you have already come to an agreement on most things, you will likely only need minimal number of sessions to achieve that 100% resolution you are seeking.
Collaborative Process: In the collaborative process, you and your spouse sit down with each of your lawyers in 4-way meetings to come to a resolution of your matrimonial issues. The cost is likely reduced from the “traditional” divorce court method of resolution because the team works together to keep conflict as low as possible.
In general, I always remind clients that “conflict is expensive”. The more that the professionals have to help you to resolve, the more you will pay. The faster you come to a resolution, the less expensive your fees (your fees are usually based on an hourly rate).