If you are considering using divorce mediation instead of opting for traditional courtroom litigation, chances are that cost is one of the considerations. Because divorce can be such an emotionally and financially draining process, many people choose divorce mediation as a way to lower costs by eliminating the need for attorney fees, court costs and other charges that can add up quickly for both parties in the divorce. Knowing exactly how much divorce mediation can cost compared to courtroom litigation can help you and your former spouse decide whether it is in your best interest to finalize your divorce through a mediator.
How Much Does Divorce Mediation Cost?
Because no two divorces are the same, there is no hard and fast rule for how much it costs to go through divorce mediation. Since most divorce mediation sessions are billed either by the hour or per session, with each session typically lasting around two hours, costs for divorce mediation can vary depending on how many sessions you and your ex-spouse will need to effectively finalize your divorce.
How is the Cost of Divorce Mediation Determined?
The cost of divorce mediation depends largely on four factors:
Set-Up Fee- This is the initial fee that many divorce mediators charge for meeting with the couple. At this initial meeting, the divorce mediator and the couple can outline the issues that will need resolution over the course of the sessions, so the exact number of necessary divorce mediation sessions can be determined.
Number of Mediation Sessions- Because of the hourly or per-session charge that most divorce mediators operate on, the number of sessions required for your divorce mediation directly determine the overall cost. If you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse have only a few issues that need to be resolved, your overall cost will be less than a couple with a laundry list of points that must be discussed, since they will require more sessions to settle their divorce agreement.
Private vs. Community Based Mediation- If your divorce mediator operates as a private practice, he or she can charge anywhere from $100 to $1,000 per hour. The average divorce mediation session cost of a private mediator is between $100-300 per hour. On the other hand, community-based divorce mediation can be much cheaper, or even free, depending on the agency through which it is offered. The low- or no-cost option of community-based divorce mediation is enticing for some couples, while others worry that this type of divorce mediation will not be as effective as that which is offered by a private mediator.
Additional Costs- Once you and your ex-spouse have successfully worked through your issues, there will be a fee for drafting the legal documents necessary to finalize your divorce. Divorce mediators can charge anywhere from $500 to $1500 to generate these documents. Also, you may incur additional costs for canceling a session, managing the mediation (known as a case management fee), and the initial filing of the request for mediation. Divorce mediators can also charge a fee for keeping a written transcript of your mediation sessions.
If you and your soon-to-be former spouse are considering divorce mediation, it is important that you understand all the associated costs so you can accurately compare it to courtroom litigation and determine which option is going to mutually benefit you. Because divorce is such a sensitive and personal subject, it can be hard to arrive at a decision without being armed with the facts. Make sure you do an adequate amount of research before choosing which means of divorce settlement is best for you and your situation.
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