Written by attorney Angela I. Green

Is Mediation Cheaper Than Using Lawyers to Handle a Divorce?

Yes. Many lawyers charge a retainer fee of between $2,500 and $10,000 (for each spouse) for most average cases and bill the client for services in addition to the time covered by the retainer. Once this initial retainer is exhausted, the attorney will charge a new retainer or invoice the client monthly. The retainer amount will be substantially more in complex cases, involving custody disputes or complex financial disputes. The total cost of divorce mediation from beginning to end, for both spouses, can be less than one retainer made by one spouse alone to a litigation attorney.

Typical divorce costs can run two to ten times higher than the cost of mediation. Also, keep in mind that "cost" should be measured not only in dollars spent but also in the emotional cost to the parties and their children who go through litigated divorces. This emotional cost is greatly reduced by the mediation process.

Similarly, in divorce mediation, the couple jointly constructs a mutually beneficial plan for the future. If children are involved, what is good for mom is good for dad and the children and what is good for dad is good for mom and the children. And in the end you save money because you create the future.

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