Two of the most frequently asked questions from prospective clients are: How much does mediation cost? and How long will it take to get the divorce?
Let’s address the cost first. An important factor in determining the cost of mediation is the level of preparedness of the participants. We attempt to assist new clients by referring them to our article, Preparing For Mediation, which can be found on our web site. This article identifies the key issues that need to be addressed by the clients.
Information related to assets and liabilities and how they are dealt with represent a key element to successful mediation. The more information you have collected and the decisions you have reached regarding how these will be divided will determine how many mediation sessions will be required. The mediation sessions typically last for one hour (there are exceptions; i.e., clients from out of town or state) and the fee is $120 for the hour. Usually, we can complete the mediation with one or two sessions.
Discussion of cost begins at 1:55
With the information and decisions that the clients provide, a DRAFT Separation Agreement is scribed and a copy is provided to each client (usually via email and within a week). Clients are asked to review and can make additions and changes. Once all changes are made the clients are provided with three hard copies each with a notary page. They are given an outline of the steps they need to take to have each document notarized to become official documents. The fee for these services is $1,200. Some clients do not file immediately for divorce. Their legal Separation agreement provides them with all of the terms of a divorce yet enables them to continue health insurance coverage if they wish. If they elect to do this, their cost to this point would be $1,400. If they wish to file for divorce, this can be accomplished for an additional $1,000 which includes court fees. It takes about six to eight weeks for a judge to complete the divorce process.
If you compare this to the traditional divorce with lawyers and potentially court you can reasonably expect to have the proceedings continue for many months or even years. The costs can exceed $8,000 to $15,000 per person and often decisions are made by lawyers rather than clients.
If divorce is inevitable and the parties can face this reality in a rational manner, the efficient and economical path to take is mediation.
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