Ashburn, VA

How much does divorce mediation cost?
$500 - $1,500

If you opt to enter the mediation process privately, instead of through the court system, you will need to hire a private mediator. Although these sessions can cost up to $1,000+ per hour, the average session will cost between $100 and $300 per hour with the total costs around $500 - $1,500. Read more or get free estimates from divorce lawyers near you.

How Much Does Divorce Mediation Cost?

Author: Jen K.
Millions of people ask Thervo for cost estimates every year. We track the estimates they get from local professionals, then we share those prices with you.

When considering a divorce, it is important that you understand the associated legal processes. If you're wondering what divorce mediation is and how it differs from arbitration, then this is the guide for you.

What Is Divorce Mediation?

When spouses divorce, agreements can be challenging to reach. Put simply, divorce mediation is the process used when divorcing spouses try to reach an agreement using a neutral third party. In this case, many seek the assistance of a divorce mediator. Although the mediator helps the two parties communicate and work through issues that need to be resolved, they do not make any decisions for the divorcing spouses.

Although arbitration and mediation both involve the support of a neutral third party (who is not a judge), there are key differences. As mentioned, in mediation, the mediator will listen to both sides in order to help them come to an agreement. However, they do not have any power in terms of decision-making.

In contrast, an arbitrator will listen to both sides and based on the facts, they will then decide the outcome, just as an official judge would. This means that although each party can present evidence and make supporting arguments, they do not have any say in regards to the case's outcome.

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Divorce Mediator?

The cost of divorce meditation will depend on a number of variables. While most mediation sessions are charged hourly, some mediators prefer to charge per session. On average, a typical mediation session will last about two hours. Of course, this timeframe will depend on the topics of discussion and whether or not any conflict is involved.

The hourly rate for private meditation ranges, typically costing anywhere between $100 to $1,000 per hour. However, the final cost will depend on the factors discussed below. Typically, the total cost of divorce mediation is anywhere between $500 and $1,500+.

National Average Cost $1,500
Minimum Cost $500
Maximum Cost $8,000
Average Range $100/hr to $300/hr

Compare these rates to the total cost of a divorce to get a better idea of your total costs

Key Factors That Impact the Cost of Divorce Mediation

If you are planning on entering divorce mediation sessions, there are four main factors you need to consider in terms of the final cost.

Variable #1: The set-up fee

The majority of mediators will charge divorcing spouses an initial set-up fee during the first meeting. During this meeting, the couple will list all of the issues that need to be addressed so that the mediator is aware of what needs to be resolved. In some cases, discounts apply for select individuals, such as veterans or teachers.

Variable #2: The number of sessions

As you'd expect, the more sessions required, the more you will pay. While some couples can come to an agreement after 2-3 sessions, others require 10+ sessions to resolve any pending issues.

Variable #3: Opting for private meditation

If you opt to enter the mediation process privately, instead of through the court system, you will need to hire a private mediator. The goal here is to settle all pending issues to avoid the angst of court dates. Although these sessions can cost up to $1,000+ per hour, depending on the circumstances, the average session will cost between $100 and $300 per hour. What you pay often depends on your location and the mediator's level of experience.

Variable #4: Opting for community-based mediation

In other cases, divorcing couples can seek what is known as community-based divorce mediation. This option is generally offered through an agency, providing this service at a reduced cost. Although this option can reduce costs, it can also be stressful.

Please note: There is also court-ordered meditation, which is most often associated with custody and/or visitation issues. In fact, child custody issues are the main reason why a mediation case would be court-ordered. Outside of court, divorcing spouses can more easily agree upon property or financial decisions.

Additional Divorce Mediation Costs

The short answer is, yes. If you and your divorcing partner are able to resolve your issues, there is almost always a charge to create documents. Once again, this number ranges, typically costing anywhere between $500 and $1,500+. You may also be charged additional fees if you:

  1. Cancel a previously booked session
  2. File a request for mediation
  3. Request a written record of each mediation session
  4. Are billed a case management fee

Should I Discuss the Cost of Divorce Mediation with a Lawyer?

If you are thinking about getting divorced or are currently in the process of getting divorced, you should contact a divorce lawyer. This is particularly true when children are involved. Although divorce mediation is a great way to settle any pending issues outside of the court system, you should still seek legal counsel. That way, a professional can guide you through the process, ensuring that your rights are protected.

Is Mediation Better Than Going to a Lawyer?

In most cases, opting for divorce mediation will cost less and take less time, in comparison to hiring a lawyer in order to go to court. More importantly, if you have children with your soon-to-be ex, the mediation process can help you improve communication as you come to a swift agreement. Of course, this is the best case scenario.

However, for some couples, mediation is not possible -- even with the help of a mediator. Each case is unique, resulting from a wide range of possible problems, including previous abuse or an unwillingness to mediate. That is why it is recommended that you seek legal assistance even if you do decide to enter the mediation process. That way, you will benefit from professional legal advice during this tough time.

The total cost of a divorce that goes to court is about $15,000, but can go as high as $100,000 depending on how many issues you want a judgment on and how set both parties are on winning. The final price tag will depend on the length of the process (usually nine to eleven months) and how much is at stake.

What is the Divorce Mediation Process?

First and foremost, before you begin your first mediation session, it is imperative that you understand your rights. Before making any major decisions, your case should be discussed with a consulting lawyer. Make sure to hire someone with experience in divorce mediation. In addition, you can also conduct some research. You can then make a list of areas that require clarification so that you can discuss any concerns with your lawyer prior to any mediation dates.

Some couples will prefer joint meetings while others will request separate meetings with their mediator. They are advantages and disadvantages to both options, which vary on a case-to-case basis.

Bottom line: Mediation tends to take less time than litigation. While some couples can resolve their issues in a single day, others require several meetings over the course of weeks or even months.

Thousands of people ask Thervo for legal advice every year. We connect them with our trusted network of over 5,000 lawyers to properly handle all their legal needs. To get started, search for an attorney in your area and request a consultation. Based on your individual case, they will discuss your options.

To find the best possible mediator for your case, please conduct some local research or find a divorce lawyer to help.

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