Whether you and your spouse are undergoing mediation voluntarily or you’ve been ordered to attend mediation sessions by the court, you’re probably wondering what the total bill is going to look like. How much does divorce mediation cost in Texas, and are there ways to keep costs down?
There are a lot of different factors that have an impact on the price of divorce mediation, but the process often costs between $3,000 and $8,000. Understanding the elements that influence the cost can help you strategize to reduce the amount of this expense.
Total mediation bills in Texas often range from $3,000 to $8,000. There are a number of different factors that can influence how much mediation costs, which we will look into in detail in the next section.
The typical hourly rate for divorce mediators who are attorneys ranges from $250-$500 an hour, while non-attorney mediators often charge between $100 and $350 an hour. Where the mediator is located, their specialized training, their experience, and more can impact how much the sessions cost.
Texas courts will sometimes order spouses to undergo mediation before their divorce is finalized. Sometimes, the court will set the fee for mediation services. In some counties, mediation is a requirement as a part of the divorce process.
Even though the cost of mediation might seem pretty steep, this is usually a more affordable option than taking the case to court. Litigation in contested divorces can quickly drive the cost of divorce up into the realm of tens of thousands of dollars. For more information about the price of divorce, you can learn more in our guide to the cost of divorce in Texas.
There are a number of Dispute Resolution Centers in Texas that offer mediation services, often provided at a low cost or for free. In order to apply for these services, though, you typically have to meet specific financial requirements.
For example, the Dispute Resolution Center in Harris County, the largest county in Texas, disqualifies couples that make more than $80k a year combined or that have significant assets.
Even if you have to pay for private mediation sessions, the cost of mediation is often a lot cheaper than taking your divorce case to court.
One of the ways that people try to save money on divorce is by representing themselves rather than hiring an attorney. If your divorce and estate are fairly simple and there are no contested issues, this can be a reasonable way to proceed. You also might consider hiring a consulting attorney to help during mediation.
Before you choose to save money and forgo hiring a lawyer, though, read our post about DIY divorce in Texas to help you decide whether it’s the right choice. If you do decide that working with an attorney is the right choice, be sure to read this article about finding an affordable lawyer in Texas.
Estimating how much divorce mediation will cost requires that you incorporate a number of factors specific to your case. The details of your divorce, your location, the type of mediator you hire, and more will influence the total cost of mediation.
One of the variables that can impact the cost of divorce mediation is where in Texas you are getting a divorce.
As with many expenses in life, services such as mediation can be more expensive in major metropolitan areas or high-cost-of-living cities when compared to more rural areas. You will likely find that the cost of living in your area relates to whether you find yourself paying for mediation on the high or low end of the typical range.
You might find that hiring a mediator that is also an experienced divorce attorney will help you and your spouse successfully reach results that everyone is happy with. Typically, though, the fees are more expensive for attorney-mediators than for mediators that aren’t attorneys.
At the national level, rates for non-lawyer mediators tend to be between $100 and $350 an hour, while attorney mediators often charge between $250 and $500 per hour.
Another factor that will have a big impact on the total cost of divorce mediation is the specifics of your divorce. If you and your spouse have a complicated estate and you are showing up to mediation without having come to an agreement on most issues, mediation will probably take longer and therefore cost more.
Some divorce conflicts also take longer to reach a resolution, such as difficult custody disputes and the division of complex assets.
If you and your spouse only have a few smaller details to work out, though, it’s possible that divorce mediation could be over in one session. In these cases, the entire process can be relatively affordable, at least when compared to the alternative.
There isn’t a set standard for how mediators charge for their services. Some choose to charge per session, while others might charge per hour. You can even find some mediators that operate using a flat fee structure for the entire process. In these situations, though, there is commonly a specific number of sessions that are included before you face additional fees.
On top of the pricing structure, you’ll also want to look into whether there are extra charges for specific services. Some mediators do not include filing court paperwork or drafting documents in their stated fee and instead tack these on as an extra expense.
As you might imagine, the higher the level of conflict, the more drawn out and expensive divorce mediation will be.
Even if you have a lot of good reasons to be angry with your spouse, it’s important to try and approach mediation from the standpoint of finding compromises that work for both of you so that you can keep costs down and reduce the amount of time in the process.
If your divorce is complex, it’s possible that experts will need to be brought in to help offer advice and perspective on certain topics.
For example, a child psychologist might be needed to help offer recommendations regarding a parenting plan if your case involves child custody and visitation. For complicated estates, actuaries, appraisers, or financial experts could be called in to help determine asset values or assess how pensions and benefits can be distributed.
Some people choose to hire a lawyer to help them prepare for their mediation sessions and aid them in the process of negotiations. An attorney can also help you review the agreement that will hopefully be reached by the end of the process. In order to avoid hiring full-scope representation, individuals sometimes choose to hire a consulting attorney to assist them during mediation.
Typically, both parties are expected to contribute to the costs of divorce mediation. The reason for this is that concerns of preferential treatment can arise when one spouse pays for the sessions.
Important note: You have a right to file an objection if a judge refers your divorce case to mediation and you have been the victim of family violence.
Understanding the process of divorce, as well as your rights and responsibilities under the law, can help make your divorce go more smoothly and be less stressful. Our library of articles touches upon all divorce-related topics, including custody, alimony, and more.