Mediation costs a fraction of a traditional, adversarial divorce. A contested divorce can vary widely, but some experts estimate that they start at approximately $20,000, and go up from there.
A NJ or NY mediated divorce can cost less than half of even a simple uncontested divorce, with most costing well below $10,000. In addition, the payment structure for mediation clients is simpler and more manageable than for their litigation counterparts. Divorce mediation clients pay as they go, at the end of each session, instead of paying substantial retainers up front and receiving monthly invoices. The mediation payment structure provides clients with both transparency and control. Clients can manage costs as they are incurred, and have a consistent awareness of the time and money spent on their matter. Sessions are scheduled around the clients’ preferences, and can be spread out over time, so parties can pace their monetary outlay in a way that fits their finances. Importantly, mediation participants finalize their divorces without facing a daunting accumulation of legal bills.
Litigation can often be so costly that it drives parties deeply into debt (after wiping out their savings and their children’s college funds). In a mediated divorce, resources are conserved to be used in the future as intended – for the furtherance of the family’s goals! This is one of the ways that mediation protects families and adheres to a client-centered model.
Once engaged in a contested divorce and well before trial is contemplated, most litigants find it necessary to retain counsel. Legal documents must be filed and responded to within a specific timeframe. The court schedules mandatory conferences, requiring written submissions reflecting an understanding of law and procedure. Counsel now prepares for and attends these appearances, and even if hours are spent waiting, the client is billed for counsel’s time. Costs mount regardless of whether anything substantive is accomplished. Ironically, most of the early court involvement is structured to encourage clients to mediate a resolution. Practically, much time and money gets expended on legal procedural requirements. Had the litigants begun with mediation rather than prematurely involving court and counsel, their resources would have been used directly to negotiate a settlement.
Saving You Time
Once litigants are on the adversarial track in the NJ or NY court system, they are bound by the court’s schedule. They will receive notices by mail for obligatory meetings, filings and hearings. Among these, in NJ and NY are the filing of pleadings and answers. In NJ, shortly after pleadings have been filed, the court schedules a Case Management Conference, then an Early Settlement Panel, and so on.
The court system operates by its own calendar, procedural mandates and deadlines. Parties must conform to formal rules of court.
Court dates are set during normal business hours, requiring parties to miss work or parenting time whenever necessary. Litigation takes precedence over all other obligations, disrupting parties’ normal calendars and activities. Navigating the system and its administrative nuances is taxing enough, but when all the major marital issues are as yet unaddressed and unresolved, litigants can experience extraordinary pressure and their lives unraveling into chaos.
During this period, parties proceed with discovery, the production of extensive financial documentation requested by the adversary. They also respond to interrogatories also demanded by the adversary, made up of a multitude of written questions, many of which are surprisingly broad. Each party is responsible for requesting and responding to discovery.
Mediation is much different.
Alexander Mediation Group understands the maelstrom even a good divorce brings. We appreciate that our divorcing clients are facing enough disruption without their professionals further burdening their time or complicating their calendar. By offering evening and weekend appointments, we aim to help clients accommodate their work and parenting time commitments and return stability to their schedules.
There is no one-size-fits-all divorce. Our client-centered approach respects each individual for their intricacy and their humanness. With guidance and care, our clients are empowered to progress toward a future of their own design.
Divorce rarely involves parties who will never interact again. Especially when children are involved, clients will likely be interacting with their former spouse possibly daily, well into the future, and for the rest of their lives. We believe that the quality of their relationship with their ex-spouse significantly impacts their future quality of life as well as that of their children. Mediation, unlike litigation, promotes the maintenance of respectful relationships throughout the divorce process, resulting in friendlier, healthier relationships in the future.
An amicable divorce is a gift to every life it touches.
Divorce can be difficult for children, and when there is conflict and acrimony between parents, the discord reverberates with the children, often long after the action is final.
Cooperative divorces encourage viable, sound relationships between former spouses critical to the security and development of children.
Many couples find that, over time and with changed circumstances, the terms of their divorce need to be revisited. When ex-spouses have good working relationships, making future changes can be peaceable.
We are here to support our clients through their divorce and throughout the years ahead; as children grow, employment or finances change, and adjustments to divorce agreements are needed. Mediation offers a problem solving approach whatever the terrain of the road ahead. Our clients need never face post-divorce challenges alone. We remain available. Click here to learn more about post-divorce mediation.