One of the most important benefits of divorce mediation is really a benefit for your minor children: you will create a plan for your future relationship as co-parents.
This link offers a preview of divorce as seen through the eyes of children:
Clients who wish to view the entire film may receive links to view the 30-minute film as an optional part of their “homework” for mediation of their parenting plan.
Divorce Mediation offers couples a way forward with dignity, to an agreement that creates a parenting plan (if needed), addresses child support and spousal support if needed, divides assets and debts, deals with special topics unique to your family, or modifies existing orders. Your custom Marital Settlement Agreement will reflect your priorities, not assumptions made by others about what is best for you. Problems that seem almost insurmountable may turn out to be more manageable than you ever thought would be possible. Mediation is much more cost-effective than going the litigated route.
First, we will have (free) individual phone calls of about 15 minutes. The next step is a free consultation / ”Orientation” that can last up to an hour. This session is densely packed with information about mediation, about divorce, and about how we will work together. If you decide to choose me as your mediator, we will sign an “Agreement to Mediate”. After this, you will receive lots of information to take home, along with a “Roadmap” to help you prepare for the actual mediation sessions, and we will schedule your sessions.
Many factors will influence the number of sessions required, including the complexity of your situation, the level of conflict involved, and whether you need a parenting plan for minor children. Couples with high conflict in their relationship will probably need more sessions to complete an agreement than would low-conflict couples, but they can still reach a mediated agreement.
How Much Does Divorce Mediation Cost?
In the first consultation, we will discuss fees. There are generally two fee models for divorce mediation: the hourly fee model used by most attorney-mediators, and the flat fee model. I used the hourly model for many years, but I have become convinced that for most clients, the flat fee model makes more sense. My intent is to be transparent about fees so that you always know what to expect.
Stress and uncertainty tend to accompany the beginning phases of many divorces but heading toward litigation is rarely the best answer. With flat fees for mediation, you can introduce some certainty and predictability into an otherwise difficult time. There are three fee levels, depending upon what you need.
Flat Fee Model:
Level A: Financial mediation (division of assets and debts only) and preparation of court documents: $2,850
Level B: Financial mediation, spousal support and preparation of court documents: $4,050
Level C: Financial mediation, parenting plan, child support / spousal support and preparation of court documents: $5,150.
Hourly fee model: My hourly mediation fee is $260 per hour. Most attorney-mediators charge $325 per hour or more, for a variable number of hours. Over the years, I noticed that most mediations tended to fall into the range of 14 to 18 hours of mediator time, $3,640 to $4680, plus preparation of court documents by others at up to $1500 per case. Cases with high conflict, complex facts or a complicated settlement agreement can require more hours. Preparation of court documents for your signature is available with a separate fee agreement. Time can be a great healer, but many clients prefer to have certainty sooner in their lives.
Court filing fees of $435 per party are not included in mediation or document preparation fees.
Options For Divorce Paperwork:
You may file all of your court forms and papers yourself, you may engage a Legal Document Assistant, or hire your consulting attorney’s paralegal to prepare them. I am a Legal Document Assistant for Los Angeles County, #2019060225. I can prepare court forms for you at your specific direction, so that you will never need to actually visit the courthouse. We will have a separate, written agreement that will cover the document preparation services. I provide these services from my office at 272 South Los Robles Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101. 626.441.1900.
Help – I Don’t Even Know What To Ask!
Most people haven’t had a lot of experience with divorce or with mediation. It is perfectly normal to have lots of questions, so be sure to ask them. Please remember that mediators must remain neutral. I cannot ethically provide legal advice to any participant(s). I will direct you to appropriate resources and make referrals to necessary experts and to consulting attorneys (if desired) for assistance in making informed decisions about your available options. These choices may affect how you live for the rest of your life.
What If The Other Party Won’t Mediate?
The next best option is Conflict Coaching, when you want to mediate, but the other party doesn’t. You can still have a “better conflict” when you explore ways to de-escalate your own responses to conflict and to frame your own responses mindfully. Please inquire.
I would recommend you to my friends without hesitation. I think you were fair and factual and that you worked very hard not to let emotion govern the process (a difficult task considering the emotional nature of such things.) … I think your fees were fair and the ability to review my account online was a definite plus.”
Our divorce is finalized on xx-xx-2011. You were very kind and absolutely professional. You are just terrific at your job.”