One of the questions frequently asked of attorneys is, “How much does mediation cost?” The answer varies, depending on each couple’s situation, and is difficult to quantify, but here are some things to keep in mind.
In many ways, you’re already accustomed to paying for services on an “as-needed” basis. Perhaps you have a gardener or babysitter that you pay periodically. Mediation services work the same way. Mediators get paid by the hour, so you’ll be investing in their services only when you need them. If you and your spouse only need to work through a few key aspects of your divorce, then your mediation fees would be limited.
Cheaper than Litigation
The more amicable your divorce, the less costly it will be. You’ve certainly heard horror stories about proceedings that stretched out over years and cost couples thousands or tens of thousands of dollars. Part of the reason these legal services are so expensive is because of the amount of labor involved. When attorneys are working overtime to help sort out your battles, costs certainly escalate.
In contrast, couples who work with mediators are more likely to spend time not money. By this, we mean that they work together before meeting with a neutral third-party mediator to resolve many of their differences and come to agreements about aspects of their divorce. This saves them money (and time, too, if you consider the elimination of court appearances).
Time Is Money
Another thing to consider when anticipating costs is the overall time commitment required to settle your divorce. Traditionally, divorces that require litigation take longer to resolve than those handled through mediation. If you think about your own hourly rate, you’d be surprised by how much you “spend” when you’re not actually working. For every hour spent in court or in an attorney’s office, you’re paying both the attorney and reducing your own income. Mediation, while still requiring your time, will cost you considerably less in the long run.
The Emotional Toll
Finally, you should think about how the divorce process impacts you on an emotional level. If you’re avoiding spending time with friends, withdrawing from social activities, and even missing work, there is a cost involved. Couples who use a mediator are generally more friendly toward one another, which leads to quicker solutions to divorce-related concerns and a faster return to normal life.
The Bottom Line
While the cost of mediation is impossible to estimate, there are ways to keep the fees minimal. Talk to your spouse as much as possible outside the mediation sessions. By staying friendly, you’ll be able to make decisions more quickly, and your mediation services will take less time.
Clearly, mediation is more financially attractive than traditional litigation. It’s also less stressful and helps couples feel better about the decisions they make. Contact one of our Sacramento Divorce mediation attorney to learn how our experienced mediators can help.