Many couples seeking a divorce, custody battle, or visitation fight have seen the costs of litigation and are looking for an alternative. Mediation is a viable alternative to court procedures and can significantly reduce legal costs. However, there are other factors that can increase mediation costs, and these additional costs should be taken into consideration.
Mediation costs can vary depending on the location, mediator, and type of case. Some mediators charge a flat fee, while others charge by the session. The majority of private mediators will evaluate your case before quoting a flat fee, and those that offer flat-rate packages will typically have a set number of hours or sessions included in the package with an extra charge for additional time.
Costs can also be affected by whether the case is complex or not. For example, cases involving complex assets (such as retirement accounts or investments) will typically require a specialist to evaluate those assets. Additionally, cases that involve child custody or spousal support may also require outside experts to assist with those issues.
In addition, some private mediators charge a higher hourly rate than others. Attorney mediators, former commissioners and judges often have higher rates than non-attorney or inexperienced mediators.
Other factors that can affect the cost of a mediation include how long the case takes to reach an agreement. Some cases can be resolved in two to three months, while other cases might take a year or longer. Additionally, if one or both parties are not willing to cooperate with the mediation process, it could take more sessions to find resolution, which will ultimately add to the overall cost of the mediation.
Some courts have a list of mediators that will work for free or for a reduced rate, and these options are usually a good way to save money on mediation fees. It is important to keep in mind, though, that these mediators are likely not as qualified or experienced as a professional mediator.
The benefits of mediation are numerous. It is less expensive than a lawsuit and can be resolved faster. Additionally, it is a more confidential process and keeps sensitive information out of the public eye. Furthermore, it can foster cooperation and a more positive relationship between the parties.
There are many benefits of mediation, and most people will agree that it is worth the investment of time and money. However, some may wonder how they can lower their mediation costs.
The first step to lowering mediation costs is to focus on finding a solution as quickly as possible. As most attorneys will charge by the hour, it is in your best interest to reach a resolution sooner rather than later. Also, limiting the number of mediation sessions will help to lower the costs. Lastly, some individuals choose to use unbundled services by hiring an attorney to handle only certain parts of the mediation process, such as drafting a settlement agreement. This can be a very effective way to reduce mediation costs while still getting the assistance of an attorney.