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How Much Does Divorce Mediation Cost in Cleveland?

Jim Robenalt Dec. 13, 2023

Divorce. It is something that you never want to think will happen to you. When you get married, you intend on remaining married to your spouse for life.

Sadly, not all marriages end until death pulls them apart. Every year, there are around 630,000 divorces in the United States. 

If you find your marriage heading towards that group, you should seek divorce mediation. If you are reading this from the Cleveland, Ohio, area, you are probably wondering how much that costs. 

This article should give you a good idea of what you are in for financially, plus the overall mediation process. 

What Is Divorce Mediation?

Divorce mediation is when you hire a mediator to sit and observe your discussion about allocating assets. This means that they are a neutral party between you and your spouse that is there to keep it fair for both sides and allow you an environment where you can speak freely and rationally. 

Essentially, mediators allow both sides to communicate their points to the other side while making sure those sides give the same respect to each other. 

One important note here is that the mediator will not make the final decisions for you, and you and your divorce attorney will ultimately have to be the ones that come to an agreement. 

A mediator cannot decide what assets or custody goes to what side, and they can only guide a conversation. If an agreement is not made during mediation, the case goes to court for a judge to decide. 

You go to a divorce mediator with the expectation that you will be able to get your statements made to your spouse in a neutral environment. A mediator is there to help keep the dialogue going and to help you guys get closer to an agreement. 

When Do You Need a Mediator?

Legally, the only time it will become mandatory to use a mediator is when there are child custody issues. Essentially, if you and your spouse have not come with an agreement on who is taking a child on certain days or weekends, then a mediator is going to have to step in. 

This can also be the case when it comes to child support. If you and your spouse do not come up with an agreement on that either, then you may need to go through mediation. 

This is the primary time a court will recommend you guys go through mediation. However, you can attempt to use it to come up with agreements on other aspects of your divorce. 

For example, three other significant issues that tend to come up with divorces are spousal support, splitting property, and allocating debt. These are things that you can attempt to try to solve with mediation. However, since it is not a legal requirement to go to this with these issues, you may not come up with an agreement quickly. 

How Much Does it Cost? 

Each county in Ohio has different enforcement of parenting issues and the associated fees. Some counties in Ohio even offer free services for those that want mediation for child custody and other parenting issues. 

Cleveland is located in Cuyahoga County, and this county, unfortunately, does not provide free mediation services. 

If you go through the court, you guys will have to pay a combined cost of $250. The court usually requires the two parties to split the price, which would be $125 each. 

However, courts only enforce this when there are parenting issues in Cuyahoga County. You may have to go the private route if you want mediation for other aspects of your divorce

Say you have complicated things in your divorce that you want mediation on. This can be who is taking on a load of debt, if there will be any spousal support, and who gets a house that one spouse had before they married. 

Regardless of what it is, imagine that it is something that takes extensive hours of mediation to resolve. Then, you could be talking about paying thousands of dollars for this process. 

Why is this? Because $250 per hour is typically the standard in the mediation industry, they may bring it down to $200 the next hour and then cut it to around half of the initial hourly rate.  It is always essential what your mediator’s rate is.

Ways to Save Money on Mediation 

So, reading the above, you may be hesitant to hire a mediator because you feel that you may not be able to afford the extra cost. Well, there are a few ways around having to pay all of that money. 

The first thing that you can do is hire a divorce lawyer that also mediates. There are lawyers out there who practice in both fields. As a result, this lawyer may charge a higher hourly rate than a typical mediator. 

So, how is this a cheaper option, then? The answer is that you only have to pay one person instead of two. In mediation sessions, you are very likely to bring your divorce attorney with you as legal counsel and give suggestions on what is a fair agreement. 

Lawyers can be very costly. Say that they charge you about $200 per hour that they are with you. If you take 10 hours of mediation, that will be $2,000 in lawyer fees. 

Say a lawyer who is your mediator initially charges you $350 per hour. Then, they go down to $250 for some hours, and finally, to $150.

You are essentially paying about $1,000 for each spouse rather than the potential $3,000 each for both a mediator and a lawyer. 

Another way to save money is to know what you want and what you will agree to on each subject before going into mediation. For debt and spousal support, write down your goals and minimums for each. For child custody, write down your desired plan and the minimum time you will agree. 

Doing this can save time coming to these points and speed up the process.

Benefits of Mediation 

After reading all this, you may still wonder what divorce mediation’s benefits are. 

The first benefit is that it can help you avoid a lengthy trial. A contested divorce can be a process that takes years, and it will certainly not be cheap. 

Mediation can allow you to speed through the process and potentially save you thousands of dollars in court fees and lawyer fees. Most importantly, mediation can help save you time. 

Let’s face it, with divorce; you would prefer to move on with your life as soon as possible. Being in court over your divorce can be time-consuming and mentally draining. 

Mediation can help you bridge that gap and give you both an open forum where you can speak your mind and come closer to an agreement. Then, you can speed this process up and get closer to moving on with your life. 

Choose Carefully 

Finally, do not be afraid to shop around to keep your mediation costs down. Feel free to get quotes from people and see what is most comfortable for you. You may realize that you could be willing to pay more for a specific mediator. 

Also, carefully choose what topics you want to cover in mediation. That can influence how long a mediation session will take and how much you spend on mediation. 

If possible, talk to your spouse and see what subjects you are willing to tackle in mediation and what issues you want to save for court. It may be ideal to go to mediation for as many subjects as possible to create agreements. 

Use Divorce Mediation in Cleveland, Ohio 

You need to know some things about divorce mediation in Cleveland, Ohio. With this, you should know how much mediation costs and what items you must go to mediation for. 

If cost is a concern, you now have ideas about how to keep that cost to a minimum. 

Are you looking for divorce mediation? Message us today to start the process.