NEWS/BLOGS ARCHIVE


Comparing the Costs of Divorce: Mediation vs. Collaborative vs. Litigation

July 22, 2014 by Kathryn Lazar

A recent article on the MSNBC website entitled More Couples Seeking Kinder, Gentler Divorces reports on an interesting study which compares the costs involved in mediated, collaborative and litigated divorces. The study was prepared by the Boston Law Collaborative and analyzed 199 of its recent divorce cases.

They found that while mediation, collaborative divorce and litigation all produced high rates of successful settlement mediation was by far the least expensive option. We have found that couples that attend Mid Hudson Mediation pay far less than those in Boston — our median cost is approximately $3,500.00 per couple to reach a complete and binding agreement.

Comparison of Divorce Costs:

  • • Mediation had a median cost of $6,600,
  • • Collaborative Divorce: $19,723
  • • Settlements negotiated by rival lawyers; $26,830
  • • Full-scale litigation: $77,746

In mediation, divorcing couples entrust a resolution to a single neutral mediator.  Collaborative divorce involves the use of attorneys for each party, often joined by other expert consultants. But the lawyers, instead of sparring, pledge from the outset to avoid court and work together in crafting an outcome that is fair to all.

Mediation offers couples an opportunity to separate with a minimum of the anger and animosity that is often heightened during a divorce. Divorce mediation enables the participants to retain control of the process. Full and honest disclosure of assets and liabilities, income and expenses is required. This is critically necessary as the basis for an informed, binding and enforceable agreement.

The growth of mediation and collaborative law as a means of settlement is part of a broader trend away from courtroom divorce proceedings. Even members of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, who serve a relatively affluent clientele who are divorcing, reported in a recent survey that increasing numbers of cases are being settled before trial.