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.
Each spouse, or each party, is encouraged to schedule a free and separate, confidential phone consultation. It generally lasts 15-20 minutes.
Agreement to Mediate and Session #1 (FOUNDATION)
When you decide to choose me as your mediator, we will sign an “Agreement to Mediate” and schedule Session #1 (FOUNDATION). It will last about 60 to 75 minutes. We will meet via Zoom or similar, but you may choose whether we use video or phone only. We will briefly address how and what to prepare for mediation, topics to consider, what to expect, and telling your children. You may create a “Roadmap” for your upcoming sessions or choose to follow a more free-form process.
Is Online Mediation Cost-Effective?
The short answer is “Yes!” Mediation costs less in dollars, in stress, and in work time lost to attend to divorce matters than either collaborative law or the litigated route. Online mediation saves even more. My online rate is $230 per hour; the pre-paid rate is 3 hours for $630, which usually covers 2 online mediation sessions and some between-session time. See the FEES page for more information. In-person mediation, when available, is $270 per hour.
Your Settlement Agreement
The end product of your online divorce mediation is your Mediated Marital Settlement Agreement. This custom document states the terms to which both of you agree. Your court papers, called “pleadings”, will be based on these agreed terms.
Options for Divorce Paperwork:
Even though you and your spouse reach agreement on everything, you will still need to have a court and judge sign off on your agreement. 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. If you live in LA County, I can prepare court forms for you at your specific direction, so that you will never need to actually visit the courthouse. I need to tell you, in bold font that I am not a California attorney. I cannot give you legal advice. We will have a separate, written agreement that will cover the document preparation services. My business address is 1817 Sonoma Dr., Altadena, CA 91001; the phone is 626-441-1900 or 909-414-2721. The FEES page has more information.
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.
MEDIATION and POWER – Mediate, Don’t Litigate!
Mediation and litigation are polar opposites when it comes to power – who has the power, and how it is exercised to make decisions. In court, a judge makes the decision. The parties or their lawyers can bring things to the court’s attention, but the court decides. Mediation is different. The mediator is neutral, a facilitator, not a decider. The mediator doesn’t determine who is right or wrong and does not make clients do what the mediator thinks would be best. As your mediator, I may provide examples of options to consider. I facilitate conversations about possible solutions. The power to make decisions rests with you, the clients.
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.”