Divorce can be a costly and emotionally draining process. However, couples have a valuable resource that can help them save time and money: divorce mediation.
According to the American Bar Association, over 95% of divorce cases in the United States are settled through mediation or other out-of-court methods. Mediation has become increasingly popular as couples recognize its benefits, including cost savings, reduced conflict and more efficient resolution of issues.
What is divorce mediation?
Divorce mediation is an alternative dispute resolution process allowing couples to negotiate the terms of their divorce settlement outside the courtroom. The mediator is a neutral third party. They help couples identify and address their issues and reach a mutually agreeable resolution. Note that the mediator is not a judge and does not make any decisions on behalf of the couple.
How does divorce Mediation save money?
Divorce mediation can save couples a significant amount of money in several ways:
- Fewer attorney fees: In traditional divorce litigation, each spouse hires an attorney and legal fees can quickly increase. Couples work with a single mediator in divorce mediation and can typically split the costs between them.
- Shorter timeframe: Couples may be able to complete the mediation process in a matter of weeks or months, depending on the complexity of the issues. Traditional litigation can take months or even years to complete.
- Lower court costs: There are several court fees and costs when a divorce case goes to court. But these costs can be avoided in divorce mediation, as the couple does not have to go to court to settle.
To illustrate the cost savings of divorce mediation, let’s compare the costs of divorce mediation and traditional litigation for a hypothetical couple in Tucson, Arizona.
Assuming the couple has a combined income of $100,000 and the divorce involves child custody, child support and property division, the costs would break down as follows:
- Traditional Litigation:
- Attorney fees: $20,000 – $40,000 per spouse ($40,000 – $80,000 total)
- Court costs: $2,000 – $5,000
- Expert witness fees: $5,000 – $10,000
- Total cost: $47,000 – $95,000
- Divorce Mediation:
- Mediator fees: $3,000 – $7,500 (split between the couple)
- Total cost: $3,000 – $7,500
The cost savings of divorce mediation can be significant compared to traditional litigation. The couple could save $43,000 to $87,500 in this example by choosing divorce mediation.
Divorce mediation is a cost-effective alternative to traditional litigation. Couples can save time and money by working with a mediator while achieving a mutually agreeable settlement.