Mediation is significantly less expensive than going to court.
Financial Cost–Studies have shown that mediation will cost one-third to one-tenth that of litigation. Online sources also quote research projecting a 90% savings using divorce mediation rather than litigation.
Resolving a dispute with litigation is a very expensive undertaking. Parties are required to hire lawyers, who bill by the hour, the retainer is exhausted quickly and the costs continue to mount. Most cases settle before trial anyway with the lawyers in a closed room down the hall battling it out and any settlement reached at that point has come at a cost after significant funds have been spent in pre-trial preparation. Even in the case of a simple litigated matter, it is common for out-of-pocket to be in the tens of thousands of dollars. These expenses are exponentially greater when the marital estate is more complex.
Mediation is the least-costly method for resolving disputes. Mediations are completed in substantially less time, so the costs are much lower. Mediation will cost a small fraction of the expense of proceeding through court litigation. The cost of a mediation will vary depending upon the complexity of the case and number of required mediation sessions, however, there is little or no debate around the fact that choosing mediation over traditional adversarial method saves money. A mediator’s fee is a tiny percentage of the cost of a full-blown legal court battle.
Time/Opportunity Cost–The parties control the timing of the mediation process. This transitional time in your life will take a few months. Litigation will often cost you years of attorney’s fees, stress and animosity.
“Opportunity cost” is the value of the alternative activity that must be given up in order to pursue the alternate activity. What could you be doing if you weren’t spending your time litigating your divorce? People’s resources are finite, so when you spend time and energy on one thing, it’s not available for something else. When it comes to dealing with conflict, resources spent resolving the dispute are not available for other pursuits. For example, when a business owner meets with a lawyer to prepare for trial, he or she is diverting time and attention away from generating business. When an employee spends time responding to interrogatories, document production requests or sitting for a deposition, he or she is taking personal time away from work or losing income opportunities. Students and the unemployed also face opportunity cost issues. Time and energy spent on conflict resolution means time and energy away from seeking employment or completing schoolwork. I can’t imagine anyone who would choose time spent with litigation related activities over spending time with family, friends or any other leisure activity. Since mediation resolves conflict significantly more quickly than litigation, the opportunity cost of using mediation is consequently much less than litigation. Mediation tremendous “opportunity cost savings.”