Divorce mediation is an excellent way to avoid having to pay an arm and a leg to dissolve your marriage. It’s bad enough that you are going through a divorce. Don’t make it worse by spending money you don’t need to. This article runs you through what to expect when it comes to divorce mediation cost.
Make no mistake. Hiring divorce lawyers for both parties can increase the overall cost of splitting up. Divorce mediation is a long-standing alternative option to costly divorce court proceedings. The advantages are spelled out here.
Instead of hiring divorce lawyers and going through a divorce court to settle child custody, property distribution, and other divorce-related issues, you just go through a mediation process. The whole point of mediation is to get both sides to reach an agreement regarding points of contention.
Divorce court, on the other hand, is all about standing by your rights and using the law and facts as well as excellent legal arguments by your lawyer to get the upper hand. As you can see, it’s an entirely different take on divorce.
The divorce mediation process is entered into with an implicit understanding between parties that they’d instead save costs and take a less contentious path to resolve their differences. A divorce mediator doesn’t need to be a lawyer because this person isn’t going to be making decisions that will be binding on both parties.
Instead, the mediator is simply a coach that seeks to be neutral while opening both sides up to potential compromises and settlements. As you can tell from the framing as well as the initial assumptions of divorce mediation, it not only costs less time and money, but it also provides a calmer and less aggravating approach to resolving issues in a divorce.
What is accomplished in divorce mediation?
Divorce mediation cost aside, what do people go to divorce mediation for? Four key issues often arise in divorces that divorce mediation can resolve. First, it can get both parties to settle regarding matters of child and spousal support, also known as alimony.
It can also be beneficial in terms of child custody and determining which parent keeps custody of the children. When it comes to assets and liabilities under dispute, divorce mediation can help both parties come to a mutual agreement regarding some sort of equitable distribution of marital properties and debt obligations.
Finally, divorce mediation starts as a negotiation process, but once both sides see eye to eye and are on the same page regarding who gets to keep what and what rights go to which former partner, the whole agreement is given the force of law through fundamental contract law.
In other words, both parties agree to abide by a contract drafted by the mediator or by the party’s representatives. This way, if one party fails to keep their end of the agreement, a case may be filed against him or her in court.
A study found out that mediation can resolve divorce disputes much better than court litigation because it can reduce costs of court processes, expand possible solutions, reflect more complete information on the parties’ preferences, and foster cooperation rather than conflict.
What determines total divorce mediation cost?
When you look at the totality, of divorce mediation, there is no one-size-fits-all cost structure. Mediators will charge you an initial fee upon setting up the relationship. Depending on how many sessions both sides take until a final resolution is reached, the arbitrator will charge a per-session fee.
Generally speaking, the mediator can charge anywhere from $100 to $300 per hour. If you hired a professional mediator with a private practice or a mediator who used to be an attorney, you probably would be charged a higher rate.
There are, however, community-based mediators. These are non-profits, or they’re associated with churches or some sort of charitable agency. These types of mediators can charge you much less. In fact, in many cases, they provide their services free of charge because they get their funding elsewhere.
You can connect with them through an agency. The cost will depend on which type of mediator you use, and it depends on where you will find a divorce mediator. Also, all fees pertaining to the mediation such as management, documentary requirements, legal filings, safekeeping of files will be charged by the mediator.
All told, if you sum up all these divorce mediation costs, this can range between $500 to $1500. Then again, this depends on the mediator you contract.
Other Costs Associated with Divorce Mediation?
There may be other costs that will come up during the mediation process:
- Session cancellation
- Making and filing of documents
- Mediation request filing
- Mediation sessions written record-keeping
- Case management fee
- Other miscellaneous costs
Who pays for mediation?
Since both parties would have to agree to go through mediation, it follows that both will have to pay the cash to facilitate and pay for the divorce arbitration cost.
How long does divorce mediation take?
On average, cases are resolved in 2-3 mediation sessions. Put simply, both sides are allowed to present the items that they’re negotiating about and what their positions are, and once they see eye to eye after 2-3 sessions, a resolution is reached.
This scenario is not always the case. If there are many complicated issues or things are slightly heated, it can take up to maybe ten or more sessions, assuming they even come to an amicable agreement. Please understand that divorce mediation is an alternative to divorce court proceedings. It is not a replacement.
If for whatever reason, this option falls apart for you, you can always go through a divorce court.
Should I consult a divorce mediator?
Since you may be planning or already in the process of getting a divorce, you are left with just these options. Its either you and your splitting partner agree to see each other and come to an agreement and get it formally signed by a judge or you file in the court and slug it out. In the end, you realize that the cost of the mediation is far cheaper than court proceedings.
But as stated, divorce mediation is a cheaper and non-acrimonous option for getting a divorce. So, it seems very advisable that this option should be considered first, since its also a legal option. Then, it’s only reasonable to get a specialist divorce negotiator.