The Cost of Mediation

Unlike going to trial, mediation allows the disputants to negotiate their own settlement. In most cases, it is substantially less expensive than hiring attorneys and spending time in court. Moreover, mediation is generally much more efficient and timely. A typical litigated case may take over a year to complete, whereas many mediated cases can be resolved in just two to three months. Finally, mediation is typically more private than a trial and the parties can avoid the public eye and have their dispute settled in a confidential setting.

Often, people who are disputing issues related to divorce or custody will go to mediation before they hire lawyers. While the cost of hiring a mediator is less than that of hiring a lawyer and going to trial, the parties must also consider the costs of hiring outside experts, such as tax consultants or financial analysts. These additional costs can add up quickly and significantly increase the overall expense of a litigated matter.

Mediation can save the parties thousands of dollars moving forward, making it one of the most affordable and efficient ways to resolve a conflict. In addition, a negotiated settlement will help reduce emotional and legal strain. Litigation can be emotionally draining and can negatively impact work performance, family relationships and personal health. By contrast, mediation can focus on a positive outcome that can help restore both the relationship and the future of the family.

The cost of mediation varies depending on geographic location, mediator experience and the complexity of the case. For example, couples negotiating a divorce will likely pay more for a mediator with substantial litigation experience than those who are disputing a neighborhood dispute between neighbors. Some mediation services offer a flat rate package that includes consultations, preparation, every mediation session and the final agreement. Other mediators charge by the hour and evaluate their client’s case before quoting them a fee. Some mediators also request that both parties contribute to the cost of mediation to eliminate any feelings that one party may be getting preferential treatment or a better outcome from the process.

In addition to the above costs, other costs can include filing fees to the local court, which can run from $75 to $450 depending on the jurisdiction. Many mediators include this fee in their standard rate, which will make the overall cost of the mediation more affordable for the parties. Depending on the nature of the case, the parties may also choose to hire other professionals like therapists or child specialists to assist in the negotiation process. These professionals can also be helpful in drafting a comprehensive agreement and reducing the overall cost of the mediation.

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