According to Forbes.com and many other sources, divorce is expensive. The US average ranging between $15,000 and $30,000. This same (and related) research indicates that divorce mediation is significantly cheaper…typically less than $5,000. And these figures do not account for the transactional costs such as stress, anxiety, depression and negative effects on children.
Like attorneys, most mediators charge by the hour. The average total cost of divorce mediation (with me) is approximately $2,000. In addition to the mediator’s fees you will need to pay a county filing fee (approximately $400 in MN) and if you choose to hire a professional for legal drafting, you should also expect an additional $500-1,500. On average, my clients incur a total combined cost of approximately $3,000.
To put this amount into perspective, a typical retainer paid to a divorce attorney (by one spouse) is $3,000 (or more); which means, if you both retain an attorney the starting price will likely be at least $6,000. Throw in some adversarial legal tactics and high conflict spouses and the fees sky rocket. I personally spent about $75,000 getting divorced; my ex spent much more. In addition to the financial drain, we also experienced numerous problems relating to our high conflict and litigious legal process. By the end we hated each other and could not effectively parent our kids. It took more than three years to undo the damage.
The transactional costs of an adversarial divorce are hard to measure. Although stress, anxiety, depression and conflict are common realities of divorce, the mediation process is structured to reduce these negative non-monetary costs, especially for the children as well as save a significant amount of money.