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, each spouse may have a (free) individual phone call of about 15 minutes. The next step is a free consultation that lasts 30-40 minutes. This session 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.
When you decide to choose me as your mediator, we will sign an “Agreement to Mediate” and schedule Session #1, which lasts about 90 minutes. You will receive lots of information to take home. You may choose to create a “Roadmap” for your 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.
How Much Does Divorce Mediation Cost?
In the first consultation, we will discuss fees; transparency about fees is important. There are generally two fee models for divorce mediation: the hourly fee model used by most attorney-mediators, and the per-session model. I used the hourly model for many years, but I believe that for most clients, an “integrated” model that combines per-item or per-session fees for predictable parts of the mediation process and hourly fees for the more variable parts of the process, will provide the best value. My hourly rate is $260 per hour. The deposit to begin mediation is $760, which covers the first two sessions ($380 per session, approximately 1.5 hours each). Per-item or per-session fees provide discounts for pre-payment.
The number of sessions required for a divorce mediation varies significantly from family to family. In a recent year, the majority of cases fell into a range of 5 to 7 sessions, for total mediation fees ranging from about $2,750 to about $3,890, inclusive of the comprehensive marital settlement agreement. Per-item or per-session fees can introduce some certainty and predictability into mediation fee estimates. With hourly fees, you have more flexibility with the length of the sessions. A “Limited Scope Mediation” may apply to a one-issue mediation.
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. More detailed information about fees and possible mediation scenarios will be provided at the first consultation.
Court filing fees of $435 per party are not included in mediation 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.”