Divorce and family mediation is a far less expensive alternative to litigating in court. However, the cost of mediation is still significant enough to warrant careful consideration by clients and professionals. This article examines the costs of mediation, explains what contributes to those costs and how to reduce them.
The cost of mediation is determined by several factors, including the mediator’s billing structure and the complexity of the issues to be resolved. Some mediators charge by the hour or half-day/full day while others offer a flat fee. Those that offer a flat fee typically evaluate the case and its specifics before offering an exact price estimate.
Most professional mediators have a minimum and maximum number of sessions that they will schedule with couples during divorce and family mediation. The more complex the issues, the longer it may take to reach an agreement. A thorough mediator will review the issues with both parties, set a pace for sessions and provide all the tools needed to help couples come to an agreement in a timely manner.
One way to reduce the cost of mediation is to work quickly to reach an agreement. With most mediators charging an hourly rate, the faster the couple can come to a resolution, the more they will save. Moreover, working with an attorney who is experienced in handling family law matters can assist the couple to resolve their matter in a more efficient manner.
Using unbundled legal services can also reduce the costs of mediation. With this approach, the mediator works with each client to determine if they need the services of an attorney. If they do, the attorney will handle a single portion of the case instead of the entire mediation process. This allows the attorney to work within their billing structures and often results in a lower overall cost.
The last and most important factor to consider is the outcome of the mediation. If the case is unsuccessful, it could result in costly litigation in court to resolve outstanding issues. This can potentially add up to tens of thousands of dollars in additional legal fees. This is why many people choose to mediate and reach a fair settlement outside of court. This is also why it is so important to select an experienced and qualified mediator to ensure the best possible outcome.