How much does mediation cost?
There are a number of different avenues that separating and divorcing couples can take to resolve their divorce, division of property, parenting or support issues and more. The first option that comes to most people’s minds is going to court and litigating. However, in most cases it is not the most effective option. Unfortunately, our justice system is overloaded and backlogged and there are long delays in getting matters heard which ends up dragging out the resolution process for months or even years. More importantly, for most separating couples, the cost of litigation is an important factor as the cost of legal representation can be restrictive.
The next option could be to use collaborative counsel. Collaborative law is a dispute resolution process facilitated by trained lawyers who assist in resolving conflict using cooperative strategies. Both parties retain lawyers but also enter into agreements that neither party will seek court intervention. By using a series of group meetings, the collaborative professionals assist the parties in seeking a resolution. There are many benefits to collaborative law, however, impasses can occur and at that point the parties are required to find new lawyers and start all over again.
In mediation, separating couples hire an independent third-party mediator to help resolve their disputes. The cost of the mediator is shared between the parties thereby reducing fees to both. There are quality lawyers that provide mediation services in the range of $300 per hour, which when divided by two parties, is half the cost. The length of the mediation would depend on the parties and their issues, but generally, mediation is faster than other forms of dispute resolution.
$300/hour for x one day, 8-hour mediation = $2,400 plus GST & administrative fees /2 = $1,200+
When compared to each party retaining their own lawyer in the range of $250 to $800 per hour, per party, mediation is proven to be a cost-effective option.
Separating couples could even retain their own family lawyer to accompany them in mediation. While that will be an additional cost to pay for both a mediator and respective counsel, this is generally the most efficient way to resolve conflict. This upfront cost could potentially save thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars in fees by avoiding litigation. Having independent counsel at a mediation would allow the parties to get on the spot legal advice and assist in a quick resolution while everyone is sitting at the same table.