Divorce & Separation Fees

The fees for a Mediated separation or divorce are almost always less than those for a Litigated (or Contested) divorce. While considerations of economy should not be your sole reason for choosing Mediation, the cost differences between Mediation and Litigation are significant. This is important, especially where couples seek to maximize their financial resources for childcare, retirement, separate living expenses, lifestyle, and other purposes.

Here’s a look at the two models.

Costs of Legal Separation and Divoce

Litigated (Contested) Divorce Fees:

The fees to be paid for a litigated divorce will vary based on the complexity of the issues and the time necessary to obtain a judgment and perhaps an appeal. Most litigated divorces are settled before trial.

In a litigated divorce each spouse is represented by an attorney. In the New York area , typical divorce attorney fees will range from $200 – $450 an hour. That’s per personso it’s double that per couple. In addition, advance retainers of $1,500 – $10,000 are usually required – again – per person. Even when settled before trial, it will likely be necessary to file proceedings and perhaps even appear for depositions (sworn testimony before the opposing lawyer). Fees for experts on childcare issues and/or finances also add to the total cost for a couple choosing to hire opposing counsel to complete their legal separation and/or divorce.

The estimated total cost per couple then for a litigated divorce settlement, falls into a broad range from as low as $5,000 to well over $100,000, with $35,000 to $70,000 being the typical fee range. You are best advised to consult your personal divorce attorney for an estimate appropriate to your own situation.

Some attorneys offer a “collaborative divorce” that combines features of a contested divorce with the negotiation process. The parties agree not to go to trial and each spouse is actively represented by an attorney through a series of negotiations until issues are resolved. But this approach still preserves an adversarial element that can extend the number of billable attorney hours necessary to reach agreement and, as a result, may still be costly. A qualified Divorce Mediator or Matrimonial Lawyer can assist in helping you to determine the strategy that best fits your circumstances.

Separation and Divorce Mediation Costs Less than LitigationMediation Fees:

In contrast, the total fees for both spouses in a Mediated divorce will generally be significantly less than litigation or collaborative, generally falling between $2,500 – $6,500, again – that’s per couple. The actual total will depend primarily upon the number of sessions required to finalize the Separation Agreement. And unlike the typical law firm that charges for every minute that anyone at the firm is working on a case, Consensus Point’s fees are ordinarily inclusive of the time your Mediator may spend outside of a session to research issues that may arise.

In general we find that between 4 and 8 Mediation sessions will be needed to resolve the issues; however, the number of sessions will depend on the complexity of the issues to be addressed. A divorce where all major areas of concern are involved, including:

  • Parenting (formerly referred to as custody)
  • Child support
  • Property division
  • Maintenance (formerly referred to as alimony), may require a few more sessions.

Consensus Point does not require an up-front retainer. It is customary for fees to be paid upon the conclusion of each session, by personal check or by credit card.

Additionally, sometimes spouses elect to retain their own consultants, accountants, etc., to advise on financial issues that may arise in the Mediation process. The use of these providers may result in separate & additional fees beyond the ranges discussed here.

Consensus Point also typically recommends that review attorneys be retained for the limited purpose of rendering an independent opinion on the draft of the Separation Agreement. This, too, may result in additional fees.

We would be pleased to schedule a consultation with you and your spouse to explore the Divorce Mediation process and to answer your questions about it. There is no fee or commitment for this consultation.

We invite you to call us today at
(646) 340-3434
to schedule your no-fee appointment.

Print Friendly