The Cost of Mediation
The finances of divorce and mediation are very important and often asked about. In litigation there are two attorneys hired by the parties, each party pays a separate retainer, usually between $5,000 to $15,000.00 and then are charged hourly. Mediation requires no upfront retainer and is one fee that is shared by the parties. A mediated divorce can cost far less than a contested divorce, sometimes a fraction of the cost. The hourly rate pertains to mediation sessions and work performed by the mediator between sessions.
The total cost involves many factors, from the presence of children to the amount of property acquired by the parties. If you and your spouse take an active role in the mediation by preparing for the sessions and filling out the forms given to you the process can be completed in a more expeditious manner. Your ability to put your emotions on a back burner while you negotiate and the abilities of the parties to “park their anger” is an important factor as well.
A typical mediation session will take anywhere from 1 ½ to 2 hours, with an hour allocated for the free initial consultation. If both of you are working together and understand the need for cooperation, a mediation can be completed quickly, in three to four sessions. We charge a reasonable and customary rate based upon the complexity of the issues involved. This rate is for all work performed, in or out of the mediation session.
Once an agreement is reached a formalized written agreement is prepared. It can be prepared by the mediator or by an attorney designated solely to prepare same. The cost of the agreement will vary depending on the hours involved, but will rarely will involve less than 2 hours of time and can involve as much as 5 to 8 hours of time. Again, the issues will dictate what is involved.
It is strongly suggested that both parties hire “review” attorneys, not to destroy the agreement or prod the parties to litigate, but rather to explain the agreement and to insure that the party is fully aware of his or her legal rights. The expense for this is set by the attorney but should not run more than $1,000.00, and can be as low as $500.00 for a simple agreement.
Upon both parties executing a formal agreement, the parties then have uncontested papers prepared, either through the mediation center or separate counsel. The Court costs for the filing of the divorce and its papers is approximately $350.00, including certified copies of the judgment of divorce for both parties. The Center will charge $750.00 to prepare the paperwork.