Mediation refers to the practice of hiring an individual to act as a private intermediary to facilitate the various aspects of a divorce. Mediation can be a viable alternative to the traditional court-based divorce procedure. Couples seeking divorce can derive both personal and financial benefits when they select mediation over the traditional court system. One of the main reasons why couples choose mediation is the financial benefit. When you go to court, your lawyer will typically charge premium rates for representation; mediators usually charge significantly less.
In this post, we will provide readers with a sense of what the typical mediation may cost here in Colorado. Keep in mind, this information should be used merely as a starting point for estimating costs in a given case. Depending on your particular facts and circumstances, the costs of your mediation could be higher or lower.
Costs for Mediator
One of the primary costs of mediation is the mediator fee. Mediators can be hired through the court, or they can be hired independently by couples. Private mediators typically charge more than court-appointed mediators. Coming up with a range of fees for mediators is difficult because fees can vary widely. However, most mediators charge between $100 to $300 per hour; hourly fees as high as $1,000 per hour are not unheard of.
Another factor you need to consider is the number of sessions you need to facilitate your agreements. Most sessions range from 2 to 4 hours, and most couples need at least 3 sessions to finalize everything. Let’s take a common scenario: a couple hires a private mediator to facilitate their divorce agreements at an hourly rate of $250. They manage to create all their agreements in 3 sessions which last 3 hours each. This means that they will incur a bill of $2,250 in mediator fees alone because 9 multiplied by $250 equals $2,250.
Costs for Initiation & Documents
Another thing that you need to consider is that most mediators charge an initial “set up” fee, and fees to file documents with the court. Depending on the mediator, you may also incur charges to reschedule sessions, obtain a written record of sessions, or have your case handled by a case manager. Between the setup fee, document filing fee, and other fees, you could incur a bill between $1,000 to $1,500, or even more, for these incidentals.
Costs for Lawyer
Although mediation is handled outside of court, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t consider hiring a lawyer to assist you. In many cases, the parties of mediation hire lawyers to provide them with counsel and assist with negotiation during mediation sessions. As with mediators, the fees for lawyers vary, but you can expect to incur a bill between $2,500 to $5,000 in fees if you hire a private lawyer to assist during mediation.
Altogether, it’s not uncommon for couples to incur charges in the range of $6,000 to $8,000 for mediation in Colorado. While this may seem high, remember that the costs of conducting a divorce through the traditional court system are usually higher. Beyond finances, mediation also offers couples other benefits as well, such as a more relaxed environment. We may return and discuss that topic soon.