How do mediators get paid?

Usually mediators are paid by the two people or “sides” in the dispute. Often each person pays half the cost of the mediator. But:

  • ♦    You can ask the mediator to include the cost as a topic to be talked about during mediation;
  • ♦    You may decide to split the cost based on your incomes or any other way that both of you see as fair

Unless otherwise agreed to by the mediator, the mediator usually gets paid at the end of each session.

Most mediators charge by the hour. Most have a set hourly fee. Some mediators have a “sliding scale” and charge according to your ability to pay. Mediators should not charge a percentage of the value of your property and incomes.

You Control Of The Cost And The Outcome Of Your Divorce.

With the help and guidance of the Divorce Mediation Center of Marc P. Feldman, couples are able to manage and even move past their anger and disagreements to stay focused on the best way to settle their divorce fairly instead of fighting in court. Once they realize they’re in control of the process and in turn the outcome, the motivation to settle to keep costs down is great, making the process smoother and faster.

You’ll Save A Lot Of Money When You Both Need It Most.

Everything you’ve heard about contested divorces and child custody battles lasting years and costing a fortune is true, and in reality it’s worse. These couples aren’t interested in mediation to save money because it’s not about the money. It’s about using the court system for revenge and punishment. But ironically it’s the rest of the divorcing couples, the ones who file an uncontested divorce to avoid spending a fortune who are the most vulnerable and at risk of going broke because of their divorce.

We live in a litigious, law suit happy society where everybody’s a victim-in-waiting. Every day people are encouraged and enticed to sue for damages at the drop of a hat. This “sue the bastards” mindset bleeds into divorce too and when you combine it with intense peer pressure from friends, family and co-workers to “get everything you can” or “don’t give ‘em a dime”, divorcing couples can feel scared or even foolish if they don’t go on the offensive… Whether they can afford it or not.

This law suit mindset is reflexive when harm or conflict arises between strangers. It’s why corporations view the legal system as an extension of the marketplace and have attorneys on retainer. But our marital relationships are woven into who we are and during a game-changing event like a divorce the trust, affection and comfort level we once had with our spouse is replaced by anxiety, suspicion and fear.

This is why so many divorcing couples give in to the irresistible pull of fear, greed, and dubious, even reckless advice from family, friends and co-workers (and yes, attorneys) and immediately go on the offensive. But what these well meaning people don’t tell you is how much control over the outcome and your life after you’re surrendering and how much money you’ll waste playing what amounts to a game of legal chess.

And where’s the upside? An even worse relationship with your now ex-spouse than before which results in depressed, stressed-out, shell shocked children? Thousands of dollars in legal fees eating up your share of your property settlement, or even bankruptcy? Even more legal fees and trips back into court because of ongoing hostility when trying to co-parent your children? We’ll guarantee you this isn’t what these divorcing couples bargained for when they started but it’s what many ended up with.

Now even though this happens every day in Family Court, it doesn’t have to happen to you.

Even couples that begin to mediate their divorce in an angry, resentful state of mind can and do still manage, with a divorce mediator’s help, to stay focused and sensible enough to create a fair divorce agreement in a handful of sessions over a period of weeks compared to months or even years of slow, expensive litigation, conflict and tense negotiating. And they’re able to do this because they’re working with someone who’s trained to help them communicate, understand each other’s point of view and work out a compromise, not make matters worse by doing the opposite as part of an adversarial legal strategy.

It’s not uncommon for an uncontested divorce to cost each spouse upwards of $10,000 in legal fees or more if they don’t settle quickly and the cost climbs the longer it takes. And that’s not counting the lost income many people lose taking time out of work for attorney conferences and court appearances. And that’s also not counting the expense of dividing any retirement accounts by a court ordered QDRO which is separate and apart from your attorney’s legal fees.

In contrast, our divorce mediation costs are ‘pay as you go’ and limited to the cost of the mediation sessions and the preparation of your final Memorandum of Understanding agreement. This leaves the average divorcing couple adequate financial resources to consult with attorneys about their agreement before signing, which we always recommend, and then to retain their services to process their divorce in court – all without breaking the bank.

Based on statistics released in 2011 by the Federal Government’s recently created Consumer Protection Agency, 20% of all bankruptcies filed in recent years were due to divorce. So it’s clear that the cost of waging a litigated, adversarial divorce, even uncontested, represents a serious financial threat to the average divorcing couple at a time when they can least afford it, and the ironic fact is that the overwhelming majority of these couples filed for an uncontested divorce to avoid the devastating financial expense of a contested divorce.

Marc P. Feldman’s Divorce Mediation Center of New Jersey serves clients in Parsippany, Morristown, Morris Township, Morris Plains, Dover, Rockaway, Roxbury, ,Madison, Florham Park, Chester, Boonton, Chatham, Denville, Hanover, Florham Park, Kinnelon, Mendham, Mount Olive and all of Bergen County, Essex County, Hudson County, Middlesex County, Morris County, Passaic County, Somerset County, and Union County, New Jersey.


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