A client recently told me that his brother has spent over $80,000 on his litigated, nasty divorce while he spent less than $2,000 on his relatively simple (no children or alimony involved) mediated divorce. And that $2,000 is the total, he and his wife each paid $1,000. Another advantage of mediation is that it is pay as you go, with payment due at the end of each meeting. No upfront retainer is required. Clients pay for time spent working on their case, both in and out of meetings. Depending on where you are in the process, the costs can ebb and flow. At Westfield Mediation, LLC, we charge $250 per hour. So if we meet for one hour, at the end of that hour you (husband and wife combined, not each) owe $250. If I spend 2 hours working on your parenting plan outside of a meeting and then at the next meeting we meet for an hour, you pay $750 at the end of the meeting. Again, parties can agree to evenly split this cost. If I spend no time working on your case in between meetings, then at the end of that meeting, you pay only for the time in the meeting. Meetings can also be scheduled according to your financial needs. Sometimes clients prefer to have the next meeting after payday, if they expect a larger mediation bill.
So while mediation is not free, it is relatively low-cost. You can expect to pay a few thousand dollars instead of tens of thousands. Many people are motivated to try mediation because of the lower cost. They are then pleasantly surprised how well the process works in promoting a more positive post-divorce relationship for themselves and their children. They came for the cost-savings and left with so much more.