Crowdfunding has become a mainstream financing option over the past decade to help make dreams into reality.
The idea of getting strangers to contribute toward your goal is an enticing concept, whether your idea is meant to benefit society on a grand scale or it’s simply an experiment to see how many donations you can receive for something frivolous.
From obtaining funds to jumpstart your next brilliant idea to graphing the deliciousness of a chicken burrito, numerous websites have popped up that allow you to create crowdfunding campaigns for just about anything.
And now, some of these sites have added categories allowing people to start crowdfunding their divorce, which may allow you to alleviate some of the financial burden.
However, there are some definite disadvantages you should consider before creating your own public campaign asking the Internet for money to finance your divorce.
Crowdfunding your divorce
Although crowdfunding is by no means a novel idea, the notion to use it for bankrolling a divorce is relatively new.
Legal crowdfunding sites that include a divorce category have existed for several years, such as Funded Justice, but the concept did not begin to gain much publicity until honeymoon crowdfunding site Plumfund recently added a divorce section.
Plumfund’s new feature allows users to create a divorce registry to help raise money for new household items, living expenses, legal fees, attorney fees and more.
Now, those going through divorce (or their friends) are able to create a gift registry / divorce fund and begin spreading the link around social media to help their loved one receive financial support as well as emotional support during this difficult time.
Instead of fronting the cost of the divorce yourself, you are potentially able divide the hefty price tag among dozens of backers who contribute much smaller increments.
For example, if you have 20 friends or family members willing to offer $100 dollars of support, that can help you put a down payment on an attorney’s retainer.
While you may not be able to completely finance all of the expenses on your own, every little bit helps to reduce the financial burden.
The reality of divorce cost
It is difficult to overstate how expensive a divorce can become.
Once you factor in court fees, attorney fees, expert witnesses, mediation expenses, discovery costs, etc., the total cost can begin to snowball exponentially — particularly for a contentious or litigated divorce when one party is not cooperating.
For this reason, many cannot afford to hire representation on their own, especially since sources routinely quote the average estimated cost of a litigated divorce at more than $15,000.
And while it is possible to represent yourself Pro Se, the divorce process is not designed to be navigated by someone who is unfamiliar with the ins and outs of family law.
You simply have a much lower chance of achieving a fair result on your own compared to having an experienced attorney represent you.
This creates an alluring opportunity to leverage financial assistance from family, friends and strangers who may be sympathetic to your cause.
Airing your dirty laundry
While the thought of mitigating the expenses associated with divorce is certainly an appealing proposition, there are several drawbacks to crowdsourcing you need to consider.
First of all, you must be able to “pitch” your campaign in a persuasive manner if you hope to garner any supporters other than close friends and family.
This means you are going to have to tell your story, which will likely require you to reveal intimate details of your marriage breakdown to the world of social media — specifics that are usually kept behind closed doors.
And even if you are comfortable sharing these private details of your life, you may also have to worry about possible ramifications to your case, particularly if you are going through a custody dispute.
Judges typically want children to be isolated from the details of a divorce to minimize the emotional and psychological trauma they will face as they watch their parents’ marriage come to an end.
Consequently, the same details you are supposed to keep out of the eyes and ears of your children are what will help create a sympathetic case to draw support.
Since from a very young age kids are adept at navigating the Web, you risk exposing your children to the spectacle of your divorce, which may not be appreciated by the judge presiding over your case — not to mention the potential distress it may cause for your kids to know these specific details.
Obviously, any avenue to reduce the financial burden of divorce should be considered due to the tremendously expensive nature of the process. And while crowdsourcing may sound like a very appealing prospect to finance your divorce on the surface, there are plenty of drawbacks as well.
Are you willing to blast very private details of your life for all the Internet to see? And if you have children, would you feel comfortable with them discovering everything that happened during the breakdown of your marriage?
Mat Camp is a former Lexicon Services Online Editor, who focused on providing a comprehensive look into all aspects of the divorce experience. On MensDivorce.com, he concentrated on issues, such as parenting time, custodial rights, mediation, the division of assets, and so much more.
Mr. Camp used the wealth of experience of Cordell & Cordell attorneys to bring tangible answers to reader questions in Ask a Lawyer articles, as well as offer a step by step process through the divorce experience with Cordell & Cordell Co-Founder and Principal Partner Joseph E. Cordell in Divorce 101: A Guide for Men.
Mr. Camp used thorough research to highlight the challenging reality that those who go through divorce or child custody issues face. He helped foster the continued success of the Men’s Divorce Survival Guide, the Men’s Divorce Podcast, and the Men’s Divorce YouTube series “Attorney Bites.”