How Much Does Divorce Mediation Cost?
In order to answer the question “how much does divorce mediation cost”, a perspective might be helpful to compare the cost of divorce mediation to the cost of hiring lawyers. The national average cost of a divorce is about $15,000 per person, including attorney’s fees, court costs, and the cost of hiring outside experts such as a real estate appraiser, tax advisor, or child custody evaluator. Almost all divorce lawyers will ask for an advance on their fees (called a retainer) when you hire them. A typical retainer for a lawyer may run from $2,000 to $5,000 per person. Once the retainer fee is depleted, the lawyer’s office will request that it is replenished.
Mediation Costs Much Less than Hiring Two Opposing Lawyers
Divorce Mediation saves money because it involves working with one person, a mediator, there are no costs to hire two opposing lawyers (because many prefer to proceed without hiring lawyers in mediation), and therefore it is generally faster and more efficient.
Mediators can charge hourly or a flat fee. It is important for parties to find out what all they are getting under each fee model.
Hourly fee model can actually be more costly if the mediator does not provide any additional assistance beyond mediation sessions and if the parties need to hire lawyers to finish the process.
Under a flat fee model, many mediators will assist the parties with the entire divorce process. Therefore, the parties know the total cost of their divorce up front.
Mediator with Financial Background Can Save Even More Money in Divorce
Mediator who also has a strong financial background and experience, and has earned a designation such as a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) is able to offer practical financial options and help divorcing couples divide up their finances rationally. This can result in saving even more money in divorce because the parties don’t have to hire expensive financial experts, or educate their mediator on how their family finances work.
Denisa Tova, CFP, CDFA, is a highly experienced mediator and a certified divorce financial analyst. She has mediated over 2000 divorces. She prefers a transparent, “know what you pay for” flat fee versus hourly fees and retainers, which can get out of control.