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The cost depends on the time involved in the mediation. Generally speaking, between two identical divorces, the divorce that is mediated will cost less than the divorce that is litigated. There are several reasons for this. First, instead of both parties paying for separate attorneys, the parties instead share the cost of a single mediator. In addition, the litigation process requires a great deal of formal obligations for each attorney: They must attend mandatory court hearings, exchange mandatory discovery, and take trial preparation steps from early in the case to protect and prepare each client for a potential trial. Mediation, on the other hand, is a voluntary process that spouses engage in without the pressure of court-imposed deadlines and multiple litigation-driven steps, such as extensive discovery, deposition and multiple court hearings.
As with retaining an attorney, mediators charge an hourly fee. While it is difficult to predict the ultimate cost, the mediator will review the many ways in which spouses can control mediation costs through their own actions, along with the events and issues that tend to increase the cost of mediation, including extensive document review and scheduling multiple mediation sessions to address multiple narrow issues.
Mediation vs. Litigation