As detailed in our website’s Why Choose Divorce Mediation?, cost savings are not the only or even the primary advantage of mediation. Nonetheless, mediation costs are generally dramatically less than legal fees for a contested divorce (one that concludes with a court trial or hearing) or even for a divorce in which both parties retain attorneys to represent them (but concludes by settlement without a court trial or hearing).
Hourly Rate And More Importantly, TOTAL Costs
As experienced full-time attorney-mediators, our hourly fee is commensurate with other highly qualified Colorado family and divorce lawyers. At present, we charge $340 hourly ($170 hourly each party, if you are sharing fees).
But remember: the substantial savings in divorce mediation is best understood by measuring the TOTAL costs of your divorce or parenting dispute’s resolution — not just by comparing hourly fees! As an insightful Parade Magazine article (“A Saner, Smarter Way to Say Goodbye”) explained:
“Mediators usually charge hourly fees comparable to those of lawyers … but a case that might require 170 hours in a standard divorce might be resolved in less than 20 hours of mediation!”
As detailed below, our average time and average costs of mediating a divorce are very substantially less than this article suggests!
No Retainers, Major Credit Cards Accepted
Moreover, unlike most attorneys, we ordinarily do not ask for any retainers or monies in advance (for mediation sessions without counsel attending). Instead, we simply ask that you pay at the end of each mediation session, and for drafting, at the time of your receipt of final documents. (We reserve the right to make exceptions, for example, with parties residing out-of-state or out-of-the country or having previously cancelled without reasonable notice.) This can allow you to schedule your work with us, consistent with your own financial resources. Additionally, for your convenience, we do accept MasterCard and Visa bank credit or debit cards.
Although many mediators suggest the average time spent in mediating a divorce involving children is 12 hours, we are focused in our style and approach.
Most couples with children — this expands the topics to be considered, of course! — will meet with us between two and four sessions (of two hours length) to consider, discuss and arrive at a mutually acceptable resolution of all divorce issues. Most divorcing couples without children will meet with us only two sessions, and sometimes only a single session. Child support modification or post-divorce parenting issues often require only a single session as well.
As discussed in the description of our mediation process (Memorializing Your Mediated Agreement), additional time in drafting the agreement and meeting to review and perhaps revise or edit the agreement is also required. Because of our commitment to the latest automation tools, we pride ourselves on being extremely efficient in drafting. We typically complete a detailed and highly professional memorandum memorializing your unique mediated agreement in much less time than many mediators without such expertise.
Factors Influencing Fees
Our total time to mediate your divorce or parenting dispute may be less than these averages, if you have limited issues, have ready access to required information or special resources, and have an easier time of discussing divorce and family options. Our total time may be higher than these averages, if you have numerous or more complex issues, have limited access to required information and special resources, and have a more difficult time discussing divorce and family options.
Of course, all these matters would directly influence the costs of divorce or resolving parenting disputes in litigation as well! Indeed, many attorneys will require an advance deposit or “retainer” for each of you that is equal to or greater than the expected total cost of a mediated divorce. And that initial deposit is often exhausted, with actual fees and costs continuing to escalate through the litigation process — with its depositions, temporary orders hearing, complex discovery and/or expert witness costs, and ultimate permanent orders trial.
Low Risk, High Reward
Because Colorado law makes your mediation efforts confidential, and we do not require advance retainer payments, if you are in the very, very small minority of couples who do not choose to continue your work in mediation after a first session, you have only invested a very small amount of time and money. The risk is thus quite low, and the potential benefits and rewards are quite high!
An Estimate Of Your Likely Fees
Please, feel free to contact us by phone or email, for our estimate of likely fees to mediate your particular divorce or parenting dispute!
As professionals concluding your divorce or parenting matter in the mediation process, the total costs of your divorce mediated with our assistance will almost certainly be significantly less than if you choose the ordinary, contested, litigation approach to divorce.
We won’t “hide the marble” here. We’re fortunate to be busy, we’re confident we offer enormous value, and we’re direct about the anticipated costs of our work with you.