A lot of people often ask 'how much does mediation cost?' and I understand that this is a factor in choosing a service or deciding if you want to proceed with mediation at all.
I publish all of my fees on my webpage here because I believe in being transparent about what the process will cost my clients.
What is not always clear, however, in these lists of prices, is how much you can save through mediation.
Mediation is designed to help parties to a dispute avoid going to Court by resolving their dispute in a more informal manner. This is why the Family Court here in Australia requires that parties attempt Family Dispute Resolution before they can file an application in Court (with some limited exceptions).
By avoiding Court, parties can save a significant amount of money.
Consider, for example, the filing fees for an application in the Family Court of Western Australia. If you wanted to start proceedings, you will typically need to pay between $470 and $695 as a filing fee. This is the fee just to have your application filed in Court. Added to that, you may need to pay $400 if the Court orders a Conciliation Conference, $120 if you need to file an interim application and up to $870 per day for a hearing or trial (these fees are current at the time of writing this post but can change from time to time. You should check updated fees here).
All of these fees do not include any legal fees, which are normally charged at about $400+ per hour.
Compare these costs to the fees for a mediation, even for a private service like mine. At the moment, I am charging $198 for an intake appointment and $540 per person for a half-day mediation session. This totals $738 and includes the preparation of a parenting plan or other type of mediation agreement. This is only very slightly more than the filing fee alone if you were going to Court, and certainly much less when you factor in all the other fees that would come up to proceed with a case in Court even without lawyers.
Then there are the unseen costs of going to Court: namely time and stress.
Court cases take a long time. At the moment, you can expect that your matter could be before the Court at least 12 months, and often more like 18 to 24 months. Do anybody really want to spend 2 years of their life fighting with their ex? Imagine everything else you could do with that time. Not to mention the stress involved managing your case, attending hearings, filing evidence, gathering endless amounts of paperwork etc etc.
Mediation streamlines all of this. It is fast, efficient, and affordable.
Finally, consider that more than 95% of cases currently commenced in Court end up being settled by agreement. Imagine how much time and money could have been saved if they had just negotiated an agreement before going to Court.