This is one of the questions we are asked the most.
Family Mediation is about 1/5 to 1/10 of the cost of a first hearing; 1/10 to 1/20 of the cost of a second hearing and 1/20 to 1/30 plus (in some circumstances) of the cost of a final hearing. A mediator cannot give you costs estimates for solicitors who all charge different rates but these are broad comparisons.
I have heard people say from time to time that they wish they had agreed in mediation because they achieved a similar settlement at court and it cost them thousands of pounds more.
We prepare two sets of documents in financial mediation. An open financial statement and a memorandum of understanding at the conclusion if asked. A financial mediation from start to finish through this service would cost on average £1000 to £1500 per person including documents. A children mediation would be fewer sessions so cheaper and the Family Mediation Voucher can be obtained to reduce the cost. Going to a first hearing at court would cost on average 5 to 10 times that amount. Going to a second hearing, another 10 to 20 times that amount. At both hearings you would try to agree. That is the same as what you would be doing in mediation. It is only at a final hearing that a court would make a decision. The cost of that, on average another 20 times plus.. the cost of mediation.
Family mediation is a lot cheaper; £1000 to £1500 each as opposed to approximately £3000 to £10,000 to a first hearing and more to a second and third. It does work better though if you have legal advice in parallel. That does not mean that you have to go to court and incur enormous expense. Consulting solicitors half way through a mediation will help you work out the best decision for you as you will be able to have one to one advice as to where you stand legally. A mediator is neutral so cannot tell you where you stand. At the end of the mediation a solicitor would also be able to draw up a legally binding consent order which would go to the court after being agreed by both solicitors. The cost of solicitors advice half way through and at the end of the mediation would need to be added on to the mediation costs.
In a MIAM (Mediation information and assessment meeting) a mediator would discuss with you the pros and cons of mediation as well as different processes to get to an agreement which don’t involve mediation. A mediator will give you detailed information about costs, what to expect and how to prepare for the mediation process. It is still your choice as to whether to proceed with mediation and we can answer any questions you have about mediation if you give us a call on 01462 429735.