When comparing the costs of a Minnesota divorce vs. the costs of mediation in Minnesota, mediation is much less expensive. Traditional divorce litigation takes many months and sometimes years to finalize, and your attorney must be paid hourly for all of the work that is done during that time. Some attorneys charge $300 per hour and more, and since they bill for every letter, phone call, and email, these costs add up quickly.
Mediation is much less stressful and costly than trial. Although a divorce case may drag on for months, mediation may be scheduled for just a half-day or daylong session. It is not unusual for important issues to be resolved in one session. Since mediation resolves a case much more quickly than litigation, parties save their hard earned money, not to mention time and sanity.
Mediators also charge by the hour, but, since mediation sessions are typically only a few hours long, the parties may pay around $1,000 for a 4 hour session and this expense is typically shared by the parties. Many mediators specialize in working with parties who are not represented by attorneys. (These are what the court calls pro se parties.) Even if you are represented by an attorney and he or she attends mediation with you, the cost will still be significantly less than it would be were you to go to trial to resolve your divorce.
Since mediation encourages parties to work together to reach a reasonable settlement, the need for additional experts is often unnecessary. This is another way that mediation is much less expensive than litigation for divorce. As an example, if you and your spouse reach an agreement on the custody and parenting time of your children, the court appointment of a Custody Evaluator will be unnecessary (saving thousands of dollars and many months of work). When experts are needed, they must be paid for their work and the costs can be significant.
Mediation offers a more efficient process with fewer legal hoops to jump through – saving time and your hard earned money.