Compare the Costs

Divorce  or Custody Litigation vs. Mediation

Learn the true financial difference between litigation vs mediation in your divorce or custody dispute

Settling Disputes by the Numbers


There are significant differences in financial exposure for couples when deciding between Divorce Litigation vs. Divorce Mediation, or Custody Litigation vs. Custody Mediation. Before you make your decision, carefully consider the information presented in the table below.

The “Life Beyond Divorce” column shows you some financial equivalents of the costs you and your spouse will assume in Litigation. Think about it: 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 with Peace Talks as a lower-cost, lower-stress alternative that will also give you and your family better options for the future.

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, $695 per hour *** plus preparation of paperwork with parenting plan for children= $10,045 Low conflict divorce, with some negotiation but uncontested final judgment. Both spouses have attorneys who charge $450 per hour: $50,000 Trip to Hawaii for two, two weeks, all-inclusive package including room with a view: $15,000 $39,955 $71,811 $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:
$58,000 $91,682 $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 $107,000 $234,450 $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:
$254,000 $556,545 $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 $325,000 $712,115 $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."