Simply put, mediation is much less expensive than litigation. For starters, there is only one mediator per couple (versus two lawyers, in a litigated case). This “one-fee versus two-fees” can add up very quickly. Then, there is the question of the hourly fee for divorce mediators versus divorce lawyers. In the Fairfax and Northern Virginia area, divorce attorneys usually cost between $300-$500 and hour. Mediators often charge significantly less. At Graine Mediation, we charge $235 per hour. Why do we charge less than litigators? Simply put, because our job is much more streamlined. We focus on one thing: To help divorcing couples reach a mutually agreeable and long-lasting solution to their divorce disputes. No expensive, complex and inflammatory strategies — that require a lot of time and preparation by divorce attorneys — are employed. Mediators help couples learn to communicate at least well enough to settle their divorce disputes and get through the years of co-parenting that often lie ahead for divorced people. Good divorce mediators know the law and are good at helping couples understand those areas of the law and legal trends at least well enough to make rational, sensible decisions in their divorce settlements. Couples make their own decisions based on the information given and a thorough understanding of the facts and issues in their case. Mediators do not give legal advice, but they help couples stay within the reality of the legal divorce culture in which they live. “Winning” in a divorce is usually very expensive because the courts, at least in Fairfax and Northern Virginia, tend to work very hard to be fair and impartial. This makes it difficult for lawyers to “win”. From the perspective of this divorce mediator, after the money is spent on attorney-driven settlement negotiations, the division of assets & debts, support and the custody and visitation of the children is not wildly divergent from what the couple could have negotiated on their own with the assistance of a trained divorce mediator. Check out http://www.grainemediation.com/faq-fees-costs-comparison.html for a more detailed comparison of divorce mediation and litigation.