CAN YOU AFFORD TO LITIGATE YOUR DIVORCE?
COST* COMPARISON BETWEEN MEDIATION AND LITIGATION
(*Generalizations. Actual cases may be higher or lower.)
LITIGATION is defined as adversarial court action involving the filing of pleadings and court appearances where decision-making authority is transferred to a judge.
Client interview/intake (est. 1 hr.)
Short Cause Hearing for Temporary Orders for Support, Custody, Property Control - prepare pleadings, confer with opposing counsel and client, appear in court (est. 3 - 10+ hrs.)
Discovery (document demands, interrogatories, depositions), est. 4 - 40 hrs. attorney time; subpoena and deposition transcript costs, est. $1,000 to $20,000+). Attorney/attorney and attorney/client communications for discovery (est. 2-10+ hrs.)
Use of other court-appointed or privately retained experts, e.g., CPA’s, appraisers, etc. (where used, $2,000 - $20,000+)
Custody evaluation: Fee for court-appointed expert (est. $6,000 to $10,000), attorney/ attorney/evaluator communications (est. 1+ hr.), attorneys/judge/evaluator court conferences (est. 1 - 3 hrs.), attorney time reviewing written evaluation and advising client (2 - 3+ hrs.)
Trial - average 8 hours to 56+ hours, preparation for trial average 24 hours to 168+ days (usually 3 hours of trial preparation for every hour of trial).
ALL OF THE ABOVE IS MULTIPLIED BY 2, BECAUSE EACH PARTY‘S ATTORNEY HAS TO DO THE SAME AMOUNT OF WORK.
TOTAL COST RANGE:
TOTAL: $27,000± to $165,000±
MEDIATION is defined as out of court settlement negotiations between two parties facilitated and structured by an attorney-mediator.
Mediation orientation -
Temporary Agreement for stability and security during mediation (est. 1 hr., if needed).
Voluntary exchange of information, documents, inventory of assets and debts, identify key economic issues (est. 1 hr.)
Mediation of property, debts, support, all issues. (4 - 8 hours)
Custody: 1 - 4 hours mediation. Optional referral to child development expert for parent consultation, child interview. Expert cost est. $400 to $1,000.
Attorney-mediator writes settlement agreement. (3 - 6 hours). Each party has it reviewed separately by independent consulting attorneys. (est. 2 hrs.)
Attorney-Mediator files papers with court. (1 hour or less.)
TOTAL COST RANGE:
TOTAL: $2,500± to $8,000±
(Actual cases may be higher or lower.)
(Copyright 2014 by Faith Jansen. Faith Jansen, Attorney at Law, does divorce mediation, cooperative and collaborative divorce, pre-marital agreements, post-marital agreements, juvenile guardianships, and adoptions, in Walnut Creek, Contra Costa County, California. See her website at: www.fjansenlaw.com and find her on Facebook at Faith Jansen Attorney at Law.)