The Cost of Mediation - How Much Does Mediation Cost?  

An Analysis of the Fees, Pricing, and ADR Costs 

Handling legal disputes in the court of law can be costly, especially if there are a number of circumstances to consider and there are multiple documents, witnesses and appearances. The amount of money saved by using mediation vs. litigation can be substantial. Legal mediation is a good alternative that can get issues resolved without having to experience the often confusing and expensive fees associated with litigation.  So what is the cost of mediation?  Before we answer this, a bit of background on ADR and the mediation process.  

The Costs of Mediation - Explained by Expert in ADR

The Costs of Mediation - Explained by Expert in ADR


What is mediation?

Mediation serves as a legal alternative to dispute resolution without court. It is distinctly different from arbitration, and is usually charged by the hour. Mediation does not always end with a settlement or resolution, but is a good start before moving on to litigation. Most mediators are attorneys, but some are not. All mediators should have certification.

What is the average cost of mediation in American cities?

The cost of mediation fluctuates around the country, but the rates are minute in terms of the costs associated with litigation. The cost of mediation is typically broken into three categories:

  • Fees charged by mediation organization;

  • Expenses and fees of the mediator chosen to conduct the mediation; and,

  • Direct costs of the party.

Here are some figures from popular cities in the U.S.:

  • New York Tri-State Area Mediation

The average cost of a divorce through litigation can start at $50,000, while the average cost of a mediated divorce can be between $5,000 and $8,000.

  • California Mediation

Prices vary, but often range from $300-$800 per hour depending on the parties, the complexity of the dispute and how many people are involved.

  • Miami, Florida

The cost of mediation for parties with a combined income of $100,000 is $120.00 per party, per session; and $60.00 per party, per session for parties with a combined income less than $50,000. 

  • Dallas, Texas

The average cost of mediation is $250.00 per hour, but varies based on the mediator used, or if it is a court-ordered program.

  • Anchorage, Alaska the average cost of mediation is $300 per hour.

  • Denver, Colorado

The average cost of mediation requires an initiation fee of $75, with an hourly rate of $100 per party, per hour with a 3-hour minimum.

  • Detroit, Michigan

The average cost of mediation is between $150 and $350 per hour depending on the complexity of the case, income and other factors.

  • Seattle, Washington, the average cost of mediation varies per party, per hour. For a party of 2, the cost would be $250 per hour; 3 people would be $175 per party per hour. There is usually an administrative fee involved of $275 per hour, but can vary or is based on mediator used.

  • Washington, DC Mediation

The average cost of mediation in Washington, DC is much less than litigation and is about $6,000-$7,000 in comparison to litigation costs of $20,000-$25,000.

  • Baltimore, Maryland

The average costs of mediation in Baltimore, MD is $200 per hour, based on the court’s recommendation.

The prices for mediation dispute resolution varies based on private mediators or mediation companies working with the courts. The pricing also fluctuates based on state and requirements of the court system in that jurisdiction. Regardless of which one is chose, the cost of mediation is significantly less than that of hiring an attorney to represent you in litigation. The cost of a mediator also depends on what type of case is being mediated. Family cases may cost more than a civil mediation, and other areas of law. 

Knowing these figures can help clients better prepare and rethink their decision to pursue litigation. The hours needed for both parties to agree on a resolution are far less than what takes place during cases that require litigation, and can offer more value and a faster solution to getting situations pointed in the right direction. Being proactive and diligent in seeking the right mediator can save time and money while working on behalf of both parties.

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