The end of the year can be a lonely time for people who are separating or divorcing. With the intent to begin the New Year without the baggage of last year, those who are breaking up often ask, “how can I afford the costs of an expensive divorce or separation? After all, when I go to court, I will have to pay court costs, costly attorney’s fees, and other miscellaneous fees associated with the litigation process.”
Costs associated with a divorce in this country can range from a few hundred to many thousands of dollars, with the average cost of a contested divorce ranging from $15,000 to $30,000. A significant portion of these costs is legal fees. Divorce costs differ depending on the type of divorce, how well the parties work together, and whether the parties use options such as family mediation. On the other hand, divorce or family mediation costs only a fraction of the costs associated with a contested divorce. When thinking of family mediation, think hundreds or even a few thousand dollars as opposed to tens of thousands of dollars.
In Louisiana, divorce lawyers usually begin with a required initial retainer from the client that can range from $2,500.00 to $5,000.00. And that retainer has to be replenished when the initial sum is partially used up. Divorce lawyer bill by the hour for such things as meetings with the client, telephone conferences with the client and the opposing lawyer, time drafting court documents, time reviewing documents received from the client and the opposing side, time investigating the case, legal research, court hearings and conferences, time waiting for the judge and for time responding to the client’s concerns. Many clients are often shocked by the enormous fees associated with a litigated divorce.
On the other hand, family mediators usually collect the mediation fee at the beginning of each mediation session which will usually lasts two hours. Mediators bill their clients for the time spent in mediation with the clients and in drafting the Memorandum of Understanding. A typical hourly fee charged by a family mediator in Louisiana is $250.00 per hour, and that hourly fee is generally split in half, that is, each party pays one-half of the hourly fee instead of each party paying an whole hourly fee to his or her lawyer. The family mediation process can usually be completed in 4-6 two hours sessions. Individual times may vary, with some mediations completing in less time and other mediations requiring more time to complete.
At Conflict Free Divorce in New Orleans, LA, we have the experience and knowledge to help you and your spouse or partner develop an effective and lasting settlement agreement that will serve your needs for years to come. We believe in the divorce and separation mediation process and have seen it effectively used in hundreds of cases in the New Orleans area. It's important to have an experienced and knowledgeable divorce mediator helping to work things out amicably. So, if you want to begin the New Year with a fresh start, contact us today.
Call Conflict Free Divorce to speak with an experienced Family and Divorce Mediator in New Orleans, or browse our website to learn more about child custody mediation, Separation Mediation Services and the Cost of Divorce.
Sources: Lisa Magloff, Demand Media, The Average Cost for Divorce - http://info.legalzoom.com/average-cost-divorce-20103.html [visited 12.28.15]; How Much Will My Divorce Cost and How Long Will it Take? - http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/ctp/cost-of-divorce.html [visited 12.28.15]