Skip to main content

Divorce is expensive. 

There are two ways divorce professionals charge: the charge-by-the-hour divorce and the fixed fee divorce. 

Here at Mediation Northwest, we charge fixed fees. That’s because the cost of your divorce can be managed if you choose a divorce mediator who charges fixed fees. 

But why are fixed fees better than hourly rates in a divorce?

Why are hourly divorce mediator charges worse?

Most divorce attorneys and mediators charge by the hour. A good divorce attorney or mediator will charge at least $400/hour. 

They earn their fee every time they touch your file, think about your file, and tell others to do something on your file. Every email, every phone call, every file review, every time your soon-to-be-ex calls, every time your soon-to-be-ex emails, every time the attorneys call and email each other. Everything. 

So, if your soon-to-be-ex can’t process information quickly, can’t make decisions in a timely manner, and needs more hand holding, you are paying for it. 

If you are a rapid-fire-pace emailer, you are paying for it. 

If your soon-to-be-ex’s attorney takes forever and requires your attorney to continually intervene, you are paying for it. 

I think you catch my drift. It is impossible to manage the cost of a divorce if you are in an hourly model.

Why are fixed fees for divorce mediation better?

If you hire a divorce mediator who charges fixed fees, you know exactly how much your divorce will cost. 

If your soon-to-be-ex takes a lot of time, don’t sweat it because it isn’t costing you a dime. You know exactly what you are paying and you know exactly what you are getting. 

Here’s the rub. Although you know exactly what you are paying when you agree to a fixed fee divorce, many divorce attorneys engage in a bait and switch. 

They tell their client that if they put down $2,5000, they can handle their divorce. When you compare a $7,000 fixed fee compared to a $2,500 retainer, the $2,500 is very tempting.

The problem is that the $2,500 is only a retainer that the attorney will bill against using their hourly rate. (Guess how quickly $2,500 goes in an hourly rate. Quicker than you can say, “GO DUCKS!”)

A fixed fee divorce mediation case study

Marcia came to me after she fired her attorney. She told me she felt her attorney lied to her about how much it would cost. 

The attorney wasn’t lying and handled the BEGINNING of Marcia’s divorce for $2,500, but it didn’t end at $2,500. It cost Marcia $12,000 before she fired her attorney. Her soon-to-be ex-husband told me he spent $15,000 on his attorney, too. 

Let’s do the math. Between the two they spent $27,000 and weren’t even divorced! 

They hired me. They weren’t the easiest divorce, but they weren’t the hardest divorce, either. I handled their divorce for a fixed fee of $9,000 total (or $4,500 each).

When making a decision - go with an attorney-mediator you can trust

Here’s the truth about the final cost for the charge-by-the-hour divorce. The “we have kids, a house, retirement, and need to discuss spousal support” couples tend to spend $15,000 – $20,000 each (or $30,000 – $40,000 total) in the charge-by-the-hour divorce model. 

Isn’t it refreshing that an attorney is telling you the truth? 

That’s how I run my practice. I am not going to manipulate you or sell you or half-ass the work. 

Nope. I run a fully transparent practice. 

When I am working on your file, you will know. When I am running behind (which rarely ever happens), you will know. You know exactly what you get when you hire me: someone who wants to do a great job for you and fairly resolve your divorce for a fair price.

So, although there is initial sticker shock when I tell the “we have kids, a house, retirement, and need to discuss spousal support” couple that their fixed divorce mediation fee is $9,000, it is two-thirds less than the charge-by-the-hour divorce model!

Contact Julie Gentili Armbrust at Mediation Northwest

If you want someone to handle your divorce with fidelity and grace, schedule a consultation to talk to me. I love talking to folks and getting them pointed in the right direction for their specific situation.