Mediation can significantly reduce the cost and time of divorce.
HOW MUCH DOES DIVORCE MEDIATION COST?
We know that divorce is financially stressful. One reason is simple: the income that previously supported one household now must stretch to cover two households, as well as transition expenses. Our goal is for mediation to be part of the solution to your financial stress.
We bill at an hourly rate, and the complete divorce mediation cost (orientation, mediation sessions, session summaries, and the drafting and revising of a comprehensive agreement) typically ranges from $2,500 to $10,000. We can provide a more specific estimate for your costs during the orientation session after we learn more about your situation.
There are four pathways couples can take to obtain a divorce agreement with professional assistance. A study by a Boston firm offering all four processes lists their average cost (combined for both people) for each process as follows:
HOW LONG WILL THE MEDIATION TAKE?
When couples exchange information and discuss options between meetings, the mediation might require just two or three sessions. However, four to six two-hour sessions is more typical. If these meetings are scheduled regularly, then the complete mediation process, with agreement drafting and review, usually takes two to five months. In urgent circumstances, this time frame can be compressed.
Three things we will do to minimize your costs:
- Provide you with a structured process that helps you to do as much of the work as possible on your own time. We’ll send you a written summary of each mediation session that includes suggested homework, questions for your reflection, and a proposed agenda for the next session, so you can be prepared.
- Share with you options and ideas that have worked for other couples. Then the two of you, acting together with our help, will figure out which solution makes the most sense for your family. Although you are encouraged to be creative in mediation, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel.
- Invite you to contact us between mediation sessions if you need clarification or encouragement to complete your homework assignments.
Three things you can do to minimize costs:
- Listen to each other with real respect and interest. If you can listen, even when you disagree with what’s being said, then it’s almost guaranteed that your mediation will be cost-efficient.
- Avoid zingers! Harsh or insulting language slows down conflict resolution. By contrast, if you use neutral language, you will increase the chances that your ideas will be influential.
- Focus on the future. Mediation provides an effective process for helping people to make good plans for the future, even in high-conflict situations. However, mediation is not designed to determine who is to blame for things that went wrong in the past.
DIY (DO-IT-YOURSELF) DIVORCE
The internet is loaded with self-help templates for divorcing couples wanting to save time, money, and stress. Why not do it yourselves?
Online templates may seem efficient, but they probably won’t help you anticipate costly future scenarios, or take into account the tax implications of various choices, or consider a wide range of options as you make your decisions.
Mediation is, in a sense, a do-it-yourself process. You’re the experts in your own lives, and in mediation, you make the decisions. The mediator provides useful information and facilitation to help you reach a settlement that meets the needs of each family member, not only when you first sign your agreement, but also years down the road.
By all means, save time, money, and stress: these are core values of our practice. But do it safely and thoughtfully.