Woman mediating a dispute

How Much Does Mediation Cost?

Sometimes regardless of how much two people want to come to an agreement, they just can’t. In these situations, the assistance of a professional mediator can help greatly, especially in civil suits such as divorce. Although working with a mediator is often cheaper than going to court, you may still have reservations. Learn what to expect to pay for a mediator.

How Much Does a Mediator Cost?

The fees for a mediator can range from $100 an hour to several hundreds of dollars, depending on the type of mediator and whether it’s court-ordered or voluntary. If mediation is court-ordered, it may be offered at a discounted rate. Mediation is charged on an hourly basis and usually comes in either 1-hour or a 2-hour increments depending on the mediator. Although private mediators may charge from $1,000 to $2,000 per day, a typical fee would run around $75 per hour per person, or $150 per hour for a couple.

What Determines the Cost?

The cost of a mediator can vary by several factors. The two biggest determiners of cost are the mediator's hourly base rate and the number of sessions it takes to resolve the issue. Retired judges often work as mediators and charge a lower fee than a practicing attorney might charge. It's important to do your research before choosing a mediator to work with. A mediator with a low hourly rate may seem like a good choice, but if you see that they are inexperienced, they may not be as skilled at quicky resolving problems. That can mean more sessions and end up costing more in the long run. If you're looking for a mediator, you can start your research with your state's mediator association, they'll have a list of all mediators throughout the state.

Who Pays for the Mediator?

In rare cases where mediation is court-ordered, it may be free. However, when this is not the case, both parties typically share the cost of mediation. When a mediator first begins seeing a couple, they usually allot a certain amount of sessions. In child custody or divorce cases, if one party contacts the mediator, both get billed for the session. However, if one party continues to request the assistance of the mediator after the mediator feels the sessions should be complete, that individual may be solely responsible for the additional fees.

Is It Worth the Money?

When couples start visiting a mediator, their biggest concern is often how much they’ll have to pay. This very fear often makes the couple eager to come to a settlement agreement. The idea of paying $100 to $200 per hour isn’t a pleasant thought to anyone. However, a couple may require only one or two sessions to come to a settlement agreement. Without the assistance of a mediator, the couple and the lawyers could be battling it out for months, which can result in legal costs that would be substantially higher than the cost of mediation.