Divorce Mediation vs. Divorce Litigation
Custody Mediation vs. Custody Litigation

Think: Do you really want to spend your children’s college education account, your vacation money, and the equity in your home on your divorce? Consider divorce mediation or custody mediation as a lower-cost, lower-stress alternative:

Life Beyond Divorce
Savings by Using Mediation Instead of Litigation
Time Value of Money (Savings) Over 20 Years**
Total Savings By Using Mediation

3 sessions at 3 hours each, $625 per hour *** plus preparation of paperwork and consultation with independent attorneys to review settlement options: $8500

Low conflict divorce, with some negotiation but uncontested final judgment. Both spouses have attorneys who charge $375 per hour: $40,000

Trip to Hawaii for two, two weeks, all-inclusive package including room with a view: $10,000



$71,811: Enough for over 7 trips to Hawaii

3 sessions, paperwork, consultation attorneys to options: $12,500

Limited contested divorce case, no children, trial on common financial issues: $70,000

1976 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow classic automobile, fully refurbished:



$91,682: Enough for 6 classic Rolls Royce cars

5 sessions, preparation of paperwork and consultation with attorneys to review settlement options: $18,000

Contested divorce case with custody issues which settles right before trial date: $125,000

Undergraduate education, 4 years in-state tuition, Indiana University (Bloomington): $29,000



$234,450: Enough to send 8 children to CSU for an undergrad college education

6 sessions, paperwork, consultation with attorneys to review options: $21,000

Fully contested custody case which proceeds to trial:

Law School education, 3 years’ tuition, Southwestern Law School , Los Angeles , California:



$556,545: Eenough to send 5 people to law school and buy a classic Rolls Royce

8 sessions, paperwork, consultation with attorneys to review options: $25,000

Fully contested custody and financial issues case involving child custody evaluators and forensic valuation experts for business, pensions, etc.: $350,000

4 bedroom, 2 bath home with water view, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida: $425,000



$712,115: Enough for a house in Ft. Lauderdale with enough left over to send a child to college and law school, and $ 75,000 to spare.

*Think we’ve exaggerated the costs of litigation? Consider this quote from  Los Angeles’ then-presiding family law judge, Aviva Bobb, from a bar association meeting in September 2002. “By the time we see [divorce] cases in court, most people have spent all their community assets on the divorce itself.”

**For this calculation, we’ve used 4% simple interest rate and subtracted the cost of mediation from the cost of litigation. This figure represents the amount of money you’d save by mediating your divorce instead of litigating, and how much that savings would be worth if you have invested it at 4% interest for 20 years.

***According to Presiding Family Law Judge Marjorie Steinberg in the Los Angeles Times Magazine, May 4, 2008, if a couple can get a divorce for $100,000 in Los Angeles, Judge Steinberg considers that “pretty cheap.”