The Costs of a Minnesota Divorce: Litigation vs Mediation

If you’re considering divorce in Minnesota, you already know that divorce can be costly. From lawyer to paperwork filing, you will have upfront expenses. An alternative to litigation and court appearances is divorce mediation. In this article, we break down the costs of litigation compared to mediation to give you a full picture of what to expect financially.

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Litigation

If you search the internet (which I recently did), you can find reports stating the cost of a litigated divorce ranges anywhere from $10,000 to $220,000. In July 2015, Money Magazine reported that the average traditional attorney-to-attorney negotiation cost $35,000 and a full blown trial can be a minimum of $20,000 to $50,000.  How’s that for confusing?  Is that for each side or in total? Are the trial costs in addition to the initial $35,000 spent?  

This seems to be a difficult number to nail down.

Another site said the average cost of a contested divorce is $27,000, with the cost of a fully-litigated divorce averaging $78,000.  Less than 5% of cases actually go to trial.  I wonder how many cases are prepared to go to trial (therefore costing the parties somewhere north of $27,000 but maybe not the full $78,000) then end up settling “on the courthouse steps” as they say.  

Now THAT would be a telling number.

So what’s the point? The point is that even $10,000, which was the lowest amount , is a lot more than the cost of mediation.

Mediation

Since I enjoy numbers, I’d like to point out that Erickson Mediation charges a flat fee, with the mid-range being $6,760.  This is for EVERYTHING!* This fee covers unlimited mediator’s time for 90 days and the drafting of all of the paperwork required by the court. 

What’s not included in our flat fee? In the interest of full disclosure, we can’t pay the court filing fee, which is right around $380 in all of the metro area counties.  Other separate fees not included are for quitclaim deeds, transfer real estate, and fees for certified copies of your decree.  Basically anything paid directly to the courts, EMI cannot pay for you.  

When we compare the costs side-by-side, this hardly compares to the $10,000 mentioned as the lowest cost of a litigated divorce. 

Here at Erickson Mediation, we’re here to walk with you through every step of your divorce. If you have questions about the divorce or mediation process, we offer a free divorce info session weekly to help you get the answers you need.