Part 1 of our 10 part series
Divorce Mediation costs less than litigation because the parties are not appearing in court to ask a judge to make decisions about their property and children; they are reaching their agreements with a mediator.
In a mediated matter the parties usually share the mediation costs, which average from $3,000 to $8,000 for a divorce from start to finish.
Just one court appearance in a litigated matter* may generate attorney fees upward of $10,000 per party; a litigated divorce may involve multiple court hearings, or even a trial. The cost of litigation can be staggering; it is not uncommon for each party to pay $25,000 - $100,000 in attorney fees over the entirety of a litigated matter.
Compare the cost of a mediated divorce to a litigated divorce below:
Mediation at Divorce Mediation Group vs. Litigation*
A Cost Comparison
|Activity||Divorce Mediation Group||Litigation @ $400 per attorney hour
12 months of litigation
|One-time administrative fee||$400 flat fee for housekeeping items such as photocopies, postage, sending documents to court for filing, emails, phone calls and scanning of documents. (Does not expire.)||NA|
|Costs and Fees||NA||
$200 - $1000 per party per month.
Clients are normally billed for costs such as photocopies and postage, and billed for time spent on telephone calls and emails, either to or from opposing counsel or client.
|Filing fee (court fee)||$435 per party = $870||$435 per party = $870|
|Preparation of first filing papers||$350 flat fee (for both parties, not each)||$800 - $2000 per party|
$350 per hour (for both parties, not each) for 2-hour session, average number of sessions: 2-4
$700 - $2800 (for both parties, not each. May exceed 4 sessions.)
$500 - $10,000 per party per month
All time spent meeting with client or drafting declarations, briefs, correspondence is billed at attorney’s hourly rate.
|Court appearances (hearings or trial)||NA||
$3,000 - $10,000 + per party per month
Court appearances involve the drafting of declaration of briefs, communication with opposing counsel, meetings with clients and counsel, possible propounding and responding to formal discovery, the time spent traveling to and from court, and the actual courtroom time.
|Drafting of Marital Settlement Agreement (MSA)||
$2000 - $6000
Includes reasonable revisions, all judgment forms and individual time with the mediator to ask questions about the contents of the MSA
$2000 - $10,000 +
Usually one party’s attorney drafts the MSA; parties may agree to share the cost
|TOTALS||$4295 - $8,000 (for both parties, not each, assuming 1-3 sessions, mid-range MSA fee)||
$42,435 per party (assuming 2 hearings, mid-range for fees outlined above)
$60,000 + per party if matter goes to trial
*Both parties represented by attorneys