How much will my Wisconsin mediation cost?
When you are going through a divorce, you may be given the option of resolving your case through mediation. Divorce Mediation can be effective means to settle your disputed issues and move on with your life. Generally, both parties can expect to pay for mediation services. Therefore, if you are considering using this process, you may be wondering: How much will my Wisconsin mediation cost?
What is Divorce Mediation?
Divorce mediation is a process wherein both parties work with a specially trained Mediator who will attempt to help facilitate settlement. Your Divorce Mediation Mediator will preferably be someone with extensive family and divorce law experience.
In Wisconsin, mediation may be mandatory, such as when the parties disagree about child custody and placement. However, the process may also be voluntary. Mediation is non-binding, meaning that neither party is required to settle. Negotiations are also confidential. Therefore, if the process doesn't work, the parties can’t use information from the mediation against each other in court. However, many parties find mediation to be an effective way to work through their issues and reach a settlement.
Facilitative and Evaluative Mediation
The two most commonly used forms of mediation are: Facilitative and Evaluative.
Facilitative mediation involves a mediator assisting the parties in reaching an agreement. The mediator “facilitates” the agreement by helping with cooperation and communication. When there is low conflict, the Mediator will usually conduct mediation with both parties (and their attorneys if attorneys are involved) in the same room. However, for high conflict cases, the parties may be separated. During a facilitative mediation, the goal is for the parties to resolve some or all of their disputed issues.
An evaluative mediation involves the Mediator assessing the parties' issues and providing an opinion about possible outcomes, which helps them evaluate their options to reach agreements. After reviewing both sides' arguments and positions, an evaluative mediator will help the parties reach settlement by comparing their facts to other litigated cases, allowing them to make agreements based on how they think they might fare in court, but still in an equitable manner. The parties are not bound by the recommendation of the mediator, and therefore can accept or reject any options.
How Much Will My Wisconsin Mediation Cost?
Mediation costs usually vary according to case complexity. Some mediations may have limited issues and only last for a few hours, while others will cover all issues and span days. The Mediator may charge a flat fee per day, or have an hourly rate. As with divorce litigation, when there is a high degree of conflict, the mediation costs also tend to be higher. The lower the conflict the lower the cost. Amicable couples without attorneys and with few disputes can expect to pay $3500-5000 for a basic mediation process. Unrepresented couples with more issues, more complex financial situations, or more disputes over child custody and placement, could pay double that. If a couple also has attorneys, one advantage is that a lot of the mediation preparation is done by the attorneys, not the mediator. So the parties only pay the mediator for time spent in session, not any work done in between. That can help lower overall mediation costs.
Mediation and Attorney’s Fees
Represented parties usually attend mediation with their counsel. Preparing for mediation is in many ways comparable to getting ready for trial. Your divorce attorney will need to gather and prepare all of the necessary information to negotiate on your behalf during the mediation process. This type of planning can be extensive. Additionally, you will probably have fees related to drafting your final divorce documents. Therefore, you will also need to consider your attorney’s fees when planning for your Divorce Mediation expenses.
Contact an Experienced Mediator and Divorce Attorney
Wisconsin divorce mediators can charge anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars for their services. The amount may also vary by locale. The best way to assess how much a case may cost to mediate is by consulting with an experienced Wisconsin Mediator and divorce attorney.
Wisconsin Attorney and Mediator Karyn Youso of First Look Family Law is an attorney and Mediator with the experience you need to help you with your Wisconsin divorce and mediation. If you live in Metro Milwaukee, Waukesha, or Brookfield and have questions about Wisconsin Divorce Mediation, please contact us today and let us take a “first look” at your situation.