A family facing “conscious uncoupling,” i.e. separation or divorce, is increasingly becoming aware that the mediation process could be their no. 1 choice! Rather than exacerbating their differences, both parties gain by working through their issues together, making their own decisions and hopefully letting the healing process begin.
Most people know that mediation is much less expensive than a litigated divorce, but when people reach out to me, one of their first questions is, “What is it going to cost?” The simple answer is that it really varies. I’ve put together a list of items that may or may not impact the cost of your mediation, depending on the complexity of your case.
Mediation session fees:
Most mediators will quote an hourly fee for the time in session and will ask that you pay “as you go.” This fee is for both parties and usually shared by both parties in whatever way they agree. The total cost for the mediation process will, of course, depend on the number of sessions needed to work through all the issues.
Charge for emails and phone calls in between sessions:
Some mediators may charge for communications through email or telephone. Be sure to ask your mediator if this is the case, as these charges can add up.
Reviewing documents/research expenses:
In some instances, the mediator may have to review some documents submitted and/or do some research for the parties in between sessions.
Cost for drafting the agreement:
While some mediators charge an hourly fee, others may quote a flat rate based on how many hours they estimate the drafting will take.
Filing and court fees:
There are court fees for filing the final papers. The lawyer doing the filing will let you know what those charges are.
If the marital assets include a business, parties may opt to engage a forensic accountant to evaluate the business for equitable distribution purposes. Depending on the size and complexity of the business, the costs for professional evaluation can be very high. Some couples in this situation may forego this expense and compensate the other party with a mutually agreed upon amount.
There are times when one or both spouses may consult with an attorney during the mediation process. At the end of the process, a separate “review” attorney for each party may look at the agreement before it is signed. These attorneys usually charge on an hourly basis, but some may have a fixed consultation fee for this purpose.
Other professional services which may be needed during the process and which will be paid directly:
- A tax specialist
- A financial advisor
- A real estate appraisal
- An appraisal of collectibles
- A mental health professional for emotional support
- A child psychologist
For more information on litigation versus mediation costs, click here.
I hope you find this list helpful. If you have any other items that you want to know about which are not included here, please do not hesitate to call or email me.
jennifer safian. divorce and family mediator divorce and family mediation upper east side of manhattan (nyc) new york, ny (212) 472-8626 email@example.com connect on