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.
We will start with a free consultation with both parties together; it lasts 30-40 minutes. Or, a one-party consultation is available for $125. This consultation is densely packed with information about mediation, about divorce, and about how we will work together. You may go home to think things over or sign an Agreement to Mediate right away. There is no pressure. Take the time you need.
Agreement to Mediate:
When you decide to choose me as your mediator, we will sign an “Agreement to Mediate” and schedule Session #1 (ORIENTATION). It will last about 90 minutes. You create a “Roadmap” for your upcoming sessions or choose to follow a more free-form process. Couples with high conflict in their relationship will probably need more sessions to complete an agreement than would low-conflict couples, but reaching a mediated agreement is still possible.
Is 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. My fees compare favorably to fees charged by many attorney-mediators. Mediation fees are directly related to the number of sessions required. We will discuss ways to contain the mediation throughout the process. Transparency regarding fees is important, so if you have questions, please ask them.
How Much Does Divorce Mediation Cost?
We will talk about fees at the first consultation. How we use our time in mediation sessions and between sessions is at least as important as the hourly rate when forecasting the total fee. Individuals process information differently. Sometimes frequent but shorter sessions of 1 to 1.5 hours work best. Others may find that 2-hour sessions are optimal. My hourly rate is $260 per hour for in-person mediation at my office in Pasadena and $230 per hour for online mediation with Zoom or a text-based platform.
A “Limited Scope Mediation” may apply to a one-issue mediation with one or two sessions. Most mediations deal with multiple topics. It usually takes at least two sessions of mediation and a third session focused on the settlement agreement to complete a mediation without minor children, and at least three sessions plus a session on the settlement agreement if you need a parenting plan. However, a range of 4 to 7 sessions is more common.
Multiple revisions to your proposed plans will require more sessions, which will increase the cost. Cases with high conflict, complex facts or a complicated settlement agreement can require more mediator hours, but agreement is still possible. Heading toward litigation is rarely the best answer.
Court filing fees of $435 per party are not included in mediation fees.
Your Settlement Agreement and Other Documents
The end product of your mediation is your Marital Settlement Agreement. This 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:
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 or 909-414-2721.
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.”