The Finances of Divorce?/Martin Rosenfeld

Posted on November 23, 2011


Mediators, whether attorneys or not, take a great deal of pride in their work.  The ability to work with a couple going through divorce, and helping them attain Win-Win is very great.  The ability to help the couple avoid the trauma of litigation and confrontation cannot be overstated.  Divorce Mediation is constructive and personalized.  These factors are often cited as reasons for choosing divorce mediation over alternative processes.

The question I hear most frequently in this economic downturn is a rather honest one: “How much will the divorce mediation cost?” I encourage people to ask this question as cost is a factor that cannot be understated.  The difficulty in providing an answer is that attorney fees varies greatly by region to region and estimates found in the literature are often less than precise.

However, the question deserves specific information, so here goes.  According to a July 2005 article found in Money magazine, a mediation can cost a couple from $3,000-$10,000.  This cost is usually shared by the two parties in equal parts.  (I find that most mediations approximate the low range of this estimate.) A collaborative divorce will cost $16,000, and the cost can quickly rise if experts play a major role in the process.  Attorney-to-attorney litigated divorces average $35,000, while an an added trial (most cases do not go to trial) cost somewhere a range of $20,000-$50,000 additional dollars.

So there you have the financial information you need to make a wise decision.  Should finances determine which option to use? I believe not.  But isn’t it nice to know that divorce mediation is civil, constructive, AND is cost-effective?  Only one conclusion results from the above: Mediate don’t litigate.