Divorce mediation has been making some waves recently as a viable alternative to traditional divorce proceedings. A variety of studies show that mediation can save clients significant sums, that it is faster, and easier on the family emotionally and spiritually. A recent article published online compiled these findings.
According to the article, the Associated Press completed a national survey, which found that, on average, high conflict divorces cost around $77,746. A high conflict divorce is a divorce that becomes drawn out and expensive as couples become less concerned with actually divorcing and more about "winning." This does occasionally happen but it is less prevalent more and more. Courts generally encourage attorneys and parties to negotiate and settle their disputes, to keep it out of the courts as much as possible.
The Associated Press, by comparison, found that divorce mediation cost around $6,600 per decoupling. In many ways this makes intuitive sense. Couples can avoid the big litigation costs and attorney's fees but it is important to keep in mind that mediation is available or the best option for everyone. The mediator must be paid by the parties, which can influence the mediator's influence if only one of the party's is able to pay the fees.
Also keep in mind that mediation only works if both parties are able to work together to get divorced. It is not a place for individuals to take hard stances or insist on certain results. Everything is on the table. This may work for some people but divorce is a complex endeavor. People must take into consideration retirement, financial assets, debts and other esoteric concepts. Rarely do both couples possess the financial sophistication do understand these situations which gives one party the advantage. Attorneys are the great equalizers between couples.
If you believe that you need a divorce, then mediation may be the better option for you. Regardless of what you choose, you should still speak to an attorney to review your options. Mediation remains a small part of divorces because it is a niche service that cannot help most people. An attorney is the one person that you can count on to always keep your interest front and center, unlike a like a mediator.