How Much Does Divorce Mediation Cost in Orange County?
How Much Does Divorce Mediation Cost in Orange County California?: The cost of mediation can be measured in time, financially, emotionally, and mentally for all involved parties, including children of divorcing parents. One of the major benefits of mediation is that it usually costs less than half, and often less than one third, of what a litigated divorce would cost.
Typically, mediation costs around $5,000 in California. A litigated divorce can cost as much as $15,000, and sometimes over $40,000.
While mediated divorces do offer numerous benefits to couples who choose alternative dispute resolution over divorce litigation, including lower costs, divorce mediation is not for everyone. If a couple has no chance of communicating with one another, even with the help of a mediator, mediation may lead to a stand-still, or require that the couple goes to litigation in the end anyways.
If domestic violence has been an issue in your relationship, please discuss mediation in addition to other options with a skilled California family law attorney to determine if mediation is the right option for you.
The Cost of Mediated Divorce Compared to the Cost of Litigated Divorce in California
The difference in the cost of divorce mediation when compared to a litigated divorce in California is mainly due to two factors: the amount of control the divorcing couple has over the divorce, and the fact that hiring one divorce mediator costs significantly less than hiring two divorce attorneys.
Both a litigated divorce and a mediated divorce will result in similar things: a divorce, with court orders regarding the division of property and debts, child custody, child support, and spousal support, the cost of divorce mediation also covers several added benefits. However, the financial, emotional, mental, and time costs associated with each will vary based on which you choose, your relationship with your spouse or partner, and how complex your divorce may be.
Communication Skills -Divorce mediation allows a couple to gain valuable communication skills that can last into the post-divorce relationship. This is especially beneficial when the divorced couple will be co-parenting after the divorce.
Control - Choosing divorce mediation allows a couple to have more control over the outcome of the divorce, because during mediation, the couple discusses the terms of every part of the divorce, and can create the terms of their own court orders. This means that the couple can decide how to divide their own property and debts, the custody of their children, and even child and spousal support. These agreements will need to be approved by a judge before they can be signed into a court order.
Time Spent - Because the couple has control over their own discussion, it is up to the divorcing couple to determine how much time they spend in mediation, and how much time passes between mediation meetings. The cost of the divorce is greatly affected by how much time is spent in mediation.
Privacy - What is discussed and determined in mediation is kept private and off the record. Even if the couple does go through litigation to determine parts of the divorce, what they discussed in mediation cannot be presented in trial.
Flexibility - While a litigated divorce has to be held while the court is open, usually during business hours, and an appointment has to be made when the judge is available, a litigated divorce could take months to finish. Mediation allows the couple to work together with the mediator, who can be flexible with both the time and location of the meetings. If the divorcing couple cannot afford miss work, or has to travel for work, mediation allows the flexibility they require. The divorce can take as much or as little time as the couple wants.
The Cost of Divorce Mediation to Children
Depending on how complex a divorce is, the children’s involvement can vary. However, while a litigated divorce may require special attorneys for children, it may require the child to testify in court, and all of these can be financially costly for the parents, and emotionally taxing to the child. Mediation is private and confidential, and does not require the children to be present for any reason. The parents can work out their issues confidentially, while allowing the child to keep to his or her usual schedule.
Even when a child is not required to be in court for the trial, if a parent cannot afford child care for the child during litigation, the child may have to be in the court during the divorce. Mediation offers a much less stressful and taxing situation for a child if he or she must be present, especially because the mediator can be flexible on the location.
Calculating Mediation Fees
If you hire a divorce mediator in California who is also an attorney, he or she will usually charge a retainer fee of between $2,000 and $5,000. Most mediators charge by the hour for mediation, which means that to an extent, the couple can determine how long mediation takes and how much it will cost. Mediators will also charge for services like filing or researching on their own time.
It is recommended that each party also hires an attorney to assist with mediation, questions about divorce, and approving the divorce agreement before submitting it to the judge, because a mediator is required to remain neutral and cannot provide legal advice to either party.
Mediation, like litigated divorces, may also require that the couple hire certain experts to help with certain parts of the divorce, like a child custody expert, or a financial expert. These fees may vary, but mediation allows the couple to choose whether to call upon these experts, while litigation may require it.
Find a Divorce Mediator in California to discuss How Much Does Divorce Mediation Cost in Orange County?
If you are ready to take the next step in resolving your divorce issue, the experienced divorce mediation lawyers at Yanez & Associates are here to help. Contact us today to schedule your free initial consultation, where we can discuss the details of your case and the cost of hiring a divorce mediator in California.