All There Is To Know About Divorce Mediation

Divorce Mediation

More than 40 million lawsuits make it to the courts of the United States each year. Most of us don’t enjoy going to court or visiting a lawyer for every little thing. A divorce can be a tough time for all parties concerned. 

More than it is psychologically and emotionally taxing, the legal procedures can be quite daunting for many.

If you or a loved one is going through a divorce, the last thing you want is to complicate things further. Statistics show that a divorce trial can last months to years. So, you may want to settle matters out of court and not even spend money on a whole divorce trial.

Did you know that avoiding a mediation session can be successfully done in 1 to 3 hours?

Now, you are already doing the math in your head. Do you want to carry on a complicated court battle for several years if you can resolve it within a few hours? I think not.

If you are choosing to go through a divorce mediation, you will need a divorce mediation lawyer. However, hiring a lawyer for a short period as opposed to several years is certainly one factor. 

So, this is where the long list of advantages of divorce mediation comes into play.

In this article, we will talk all about divorce mediation, its requisites, costs, perks of a mediation divorce, and also the role of a divorce mediation attorney.

What Is Divorce Mediation?

Divorce is the legal process through which a marriage comes to an end in the eyes of the law. Formal preceding that marks the end to all marital obligations and duties is exactly what a divorce is.

A divorce mediation is the voluntary process through which the parties getting a divorce negotiate the divorce-related issues. It is a confidential and structured legal process that minimizes the involvement of the court.


Divorce mediation is usually done with the help of a third party called a mediator.

  • Some spouses may be having issues relating to child custody rights, visitation agreements, property division, and spousal support. 
  • They can still be fighting about matters that led to the dissolution of their marriage in the first place. 
  • The parties work together and negotiate the issues they have in the divorce to arrive at a final settlement.
  • A mediator will facilitate communication between the spouses so they can conduct the negotiation respectfully and without conflict.
  • All divorce mediators have the duty to help parties reach mutually acceptable terms with the minimum amount of conflict. 
  • Due to the minimization of court involvement, divorce mediation is a cost-effective process. 
  • However, the decision the parties reach after a divorce mediation is non-binding. Once the parties agree on the terms, they can ask the lawyer to draw up an agreement, which will become binding once the divorce is finalized.

How Long Has Divorce Mediation Been In The US?

Divorce mediation as a formal procedure began in the 20th century in the United States. Earlier, a divorce was usually seen as a court battle. There was the development of a civilized and peaceful approach to law. Communication and alternative dispute-resolution techniques became prominent.

  • The law and society realized that divorced individuals must lead a life best for themselves and their kids. Therefore, rather than taking the traditional adverse, a real approach and open system of communication was now in practice. 
  • People who still wanted to continue a full-on court battle still had the option. However, ex-spouses who did not want to go to court and settle the matter amongst themselves could now do so.


In the 1970s, the concept of no-fault divorce came into being in the United States. This made it easier for couples to seek alternate dispute resolution methods.

  • Slowly, divorce mediation became a legitimate way to resolve issues of divorce peacefully.
  • Finally, the Association for Conflict Resolution and the American Bar Associations formally gave guidelines about the code of conduct for mediators.

Next Century

From then onward, a mediator would have to go through relevant training programs and get certificates.

  • Today, mediation services are not just about divorce but also extend to family-related matters, child custody matters, and other conflicts.
  • Online mediation even became a big part of the justice system when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the globe.
  • Divorce mediation laws and procedures continue to evolve with the ever-changing times.

Divorce Mediation And Divorce Mediators

Mediation of divorce is an alternate dispute resolution technique. Couples trying to get a divorce can discuss things mutually and arrive at acceptable agreement terms.

Now, since it is a negotiation between parties who have different interests, there is a need for a neutral mediator.

Who Is A Divorce Mediator?

According to the laws of the United States, divorce mediators can only conduct negotiations between parties. They have no power to make decisions on behalf of the parties. 

  • It is also extremely important that a mediator is neutral. If anyone has a personal or fiduciary interest in either of the spouses, they cannot solve as the mediator.
  • The mediator’s job is to help both parties understand their rights, priorities, and options. The divorce mediator will discuss the priorities and issues of the divorce, clear doubts, and even offer solutions.
  • If you are looking for a mediator, please remember they cannot solve the case as your lawyer. 
  • They will not have the power to represent you in court or carry out other legal procedures on your behalf. Your mediator also does not have the right or duty to protect you from adversarial circumstances.

Who Chooses A Divorce Mediator?

Either spouse in the divorce mediation process will choose the mediator for themselves. 

  • The court can recommend one if they are connected to the mediation process.
  • You can ask your friends and family for referrals to a good mediator for your case.
  • In some cases, the judge can appoint a mediator to you. Judge-appointed mediators can be experts with experience in child custody or property division-related mediation. 
  • Either of the parties can ask their attorneys for good recommendations.

Just like there are online legal directories, mediator directories also exist. You can contact the Association of Conflict Resolutions on this matter.

What Are The Basic Elements Of Divorce Mediation?

Mediation of divorce in the United States comes with various components for its different stages. Since mediation involves negotiation, it takes some time for both parties to reach mutually agreeable terms.


The process for mediation begins with an initial orientation session. The mediator explains the process to both parties. Spouses get a clear idea of their roles and responsibilities, along with guaranteed confidentiality.

A Similar State Of Mind

Mediation cannot be a part of the divorce if one party is green to mediate and the other is not. The mediation agreement will say that both parties are willing to participate in the process in good faith. Unless both of them are ready to open up and discuss their issues, mediation will be unsuccessful. 

Providing Information

Before the process of mediation begins, both parties will have to provide information regarding their financial and legal State. This will help the mediator understand their issues and come up with solutions regarding asset division, child support, etc. 

Problems and Solutions

After the media gets all the information from both parties comes the stage of identification. In this, the mediator will understand the problems the spouses face regarding the divorce. It will be the categories of divorce, for example, child custody, visitation-related disputes, spousal support, or other relevant matters. 

Discussion And Negotiation

The mediator will encourage the couple to devise solutions to both of their problems. This will be a mutually acceptable plan. Mediation will lead to problem-solving. However, if you keep this in mind, then maybe the mediator has to keep a neutral strategy.

Divorce Settlement Agreement

Once a couple reaches in agreement on relevant issues, the mediator will come up with a comprehensive agreement. This is known as the divorce settlement agreement. It will contain the terms and conditions that both parties agree to.

Hiring A Lawyer

Although the mediation process does not require a lawyer, either party can get the help they need. They can consult their respective divorce lawyers to know if the agreement terms are good enough. They will submit the agreement to the court once they are sure that the agreement is serving their best interest.

The court will come to the final decision regarding the agreement. If the court approves, it will become a legally binding divorce order. Once the mediation agreement becomes a divorce order, the court will see to it that both parties execute its terms.

Mediation is seen to be especially helpful in the case of post-divorce communications.

Why Choose Mediation?

Is mediation a good idea for a divorce? Some might think that once the process of divorce starts, there is no going back. If you are visiting a lawyer, they might often ask you to pursue court proceedings to get favorable terms in a divorce.

However, divorce mediation, although not that common, comes with many benefits.  

Mediation is the confidential way to go about a divorce. If a couple opts to go through a divorce mediation, there will be no public record of the events and details of the mediation process.

Did you know that a mediation will typically cause less than a divorce litigation proceeding? 

Even if a couple chooses to go through a collaboration, a form of divorce mediation will cost them less.

Mediation will be less adversarial in nature than a divorce proceeding. There is a greater chance of increased feelings of hostility in a family after the divorce goes through a trial.

Trained Mediator

Spouses who go through mediation usually hire trained mediators. They are people who can assist them in acknowledging each other’s feelings regarding the divorce. Therefore, we can understand that divorce through mediation can be a much more sensible and mature approach.

Even though a couple goes through a divorce, there is a lot of history and unresolved feelings. Couples have kids who might take the divorce way harder than the parents.

More Control

Mediation is a process through which the spouses will have more control over the process. Through the process of mediation, they can act as a more collaborative team to come up with what is best for the kids.


The process of mediation is overall easier for both parties. Mediators provide a completely guided experience. They are there at every step to clear out the doubts of both parties. Also, the spouses going through the divorce can feel a sense of relief. It is because they don’t have to follow a rigid set of rules in this difficult time. Divorce mediation is a much more relaxed and emotionally considerate approach to divorce. 

Children Friendly

Children do not need to see their parents being hostile to each other. The sense of family remains in that. Parents often choose mediation as a form of divorce to minimize the repercussions on the children.

Before you opt for mediation as a conflict resolution approach, please remember that you don’t have to lose your right to litigate. If you feel that the divorce mediation is not doing you justice, you can go to court.

If you are a victim of domestic violence, divorce mediation can still be the right option for you. It greatly depends on how much of an imbalance of power exists in the relationship. If you want to continue with mediation, ensure that your divorce attorney is present during the process.

Please remember that a mediator will not take sides, and they cannot order you to do anything.

Details Of Divorce Mediation Cost

Since the process of divorce mediation is becoming more and more popular each day, it is essential that you know how much it can cost. Ideally, a mediation procedure will be quicker, with less conflict and less strain on our pocket. 

Easy Settlement

Mediation is an early process before filing the people’s work in some cases.  Through it, a couple can easily reach a marital settlement agreement and get a divorce through an uncontested divorce filing. They will not even need to get a divorce lawyer.

Mediation will help at any point of the divorce. Hence, it is dependent on which part you are in to understand how much it will cost you.

What Are The Factors That Can Affect The Cost Of A Divorce Mediation?

If you use private mediation services, the process will be more expensive.

Hiring a low-cost mediation service or a quote-provided one will be a more affordable procedure.

If you have too many disagreements that you need to work out through the mediation procedure, the process will obviously get more expensive. This is because you will need to hire the services of a mediator for longer periods.

Also, you need to keep in mind that the more complex your financial situation is, the more the cost of your divorce mediation will be.

Therefore, please say that, like all other legal proceedings, complexities will lead to an increase in costs.

What Is The Cost Of Private Mediation?

Divorced couples can go to private mediation services if they want to resolve all of their legal issues in the divorce. 

  • So, you can well understand that the average cost of mediation services will depend on the number of issues that the couple has. Also, the mediator can charge accordingly if they have extremely complex and unique circumstances. 
  • According to sources, we can give you a rough estimate, however. A private divorce mediation service will cost you anywhere between $2500 to $8500.
  • Since both parties are looking to get a divorce, they can split the bill halfway if they want. This makes it affordable for both parties.

We should probably tell you that it will cost you more money in the divorce trial. Also, all court-related services will come with a certain fee.

Divorce Mediator Fee Breakdown

The private mediator or mediation services will give you quotes for fees first.

  • They can either mention how much they charge by the hour or just give your flat rate.
  • Please remember that mediators who come with a low degree of training in mediation services have the highest rates. They can charge up to $500 per hour.
  • If you are a mediator, financial analyst, or family therapist, they can charge anywhere between a $100 to $400 hourly fee.

Things You Should Know Before Hiring A Mediator

You may be looking for options to save money on a mediator. In such a case, you should hire a mediator who is not an attorney. However, the difference in the hourly rate is not the only factor in your costs.

On the face of it, you can get the mediator to do the job at a lower fee. However, achieving your desired result from the mediation procedure could take a long time. This is why you should consider hiring an attorney mediator right from the get-go.

Hiring A Good Mediator Is Just Like Hiring A Good Attorney

They will help you troubleshoot your legal problems and arrive at speedy consequences.

  • An attorney mediator will not only help you in counseling, but they will have knowledge of divorce laws through and through.
  • On the other hand, if your case has more financial complications, you can go ahead with a mediator who is a financial analyst.
  • Therefore, hiring the mediator of your choice should not just depend on the cost but on the result you expect from it. 

Mediation Divorce Services And Flat Fees

Most mediation services charge a flat fee. The packages can cost anywhere from $4000 to $6000. 

  • The mediation service provider will probably give you a limit on the hours and the number of sessions you can get out of that flat fee. 
  • After you have successfully utilized those sessions, you will need to pay extra for each session. 
  • However, if you can get hold of a median sin service that can provide unlimited hours, grab it before giving it a second thought. You never know how many sessions you might need.

How Do You Prepare For A Mediation?

The process of mediation has to be voluntary efforts from both parties to the divorce. So both of them have agreed to the steps taken.

How To Prepare For A Mediation?

The process of mediation has to be voluntary efforts from both parties to the divorce. So both of them have to agree to the steps taken.

To successfully carry out a divorce mediation, these are the documents that you will need to keep handy.

  • Proof of Federal and state taxes.
  • Pay slips.
  • Valuation of your assets and businesses
  • Copies of your tax returns.
  • Valuation of your properties.
  • An approximate valuation of the vehicles you own.
  • Details of your Savings and other bank accounts.
  • Balance statements of all your children’s bank accounts.
  • Details of your college saving plans for the kids.
  • The make, model, and year of purchase for all your vehicles.
  • Details of any civil or criminal lawsuit you are currently involved in.
  • Stock options or other employee compensations.

Other than this, you can provide details of your real estate loans, credit card loans, and all sorts of debts. 

Since it is a pre-divorce stage, you must provide a copy of your marriage certificate, premarital or marital agreements, and wills executed during your marriage.

Please remember that before you enter the divorce mediation process, you should have all your financial information. 

You should prioritize the family home and the well-being of your children. Certain things like creating a post-divorce budget can come in handy. It will let you understand what you need to push for.

Remember that a mediation process should aim to provide a loving and stable home investment for all parties to the divorce.

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Debkanya Bhattacharya
Debkanya is a lawyer turned writer. With an experience of 3 years, she is your go-to source for all things law. She has a soft corner for the US and international section. When the weekend arrives, you'll find her reading up on politics, Austen, or travel blogs over a cup of coffee.

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    1 Comment

    1. Thanks for also talking about how joint bank accounts would be settled when divorcing a spouse. I have a friend who would like to find divorce mediation service because she plans to file for a divorce early next year. Finding a legal expert to consult beforehand will be important for that but also having legal counsel during the process would be invaluable.


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