The simple answer to this question is this: far less than going to court. However, the complex answer lies within the participants. A mediator has no way of knowing what emotional factors are going to come into play during divorce settlement negotiations. As these are the factors that will hinder progress, it is difficult to give a straight answer to this question.
Think of it this way. Would you rather receive a bill for one, lump sum agreed upon amount and have your divorce be over, or would you rather be receiving a monthly bill for the hours in which your attorney worked on your case at a rate often well upwards of $100 per hour? Divorce cases that go all the way to a courtroom can last months, or even years. By the time a final order is signed by a Judge, it is not uncommon for clients to have paid or owe many thousands of dollars. Even then, when a Judge is forced to make final decisions, both parties usually do not walk away with everything they fought for.
So what is your peace of mind and financial security worth to you? Is whatever issue or asset you are refusing to communicate about or compromise on worth all that time and money? Divorce mediation is a much simpler and less stressful means to an end. Where possible, it should always take the place of going to trial. Not only is it cheaper and quicker, but it is an unmatched process when it comes to protecting the privacy of your family during a difficult time. This is especially important where children are involved.
An experienced mediator is priceless when it comes to handling divorce negotiations. He or she will be able to craft a customized settlement agreement to allow all parties involved to move forward quickly and in confidence that the future is going to be manageable.