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 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. No matter how difficult your problems may seem to you, solutions are possible. Mediation is much more cost-effective than going the litigated route.
Free Phone Consultations
Each spouse is encouraged to schedule a free and separate, confidential phone consultation. It generally lasts about 15 minutes. Then, we will schedule a free and confidential 30-minute joint video conference with both parties. I will use the Agreement to Mediate as a teaching tool to help both parties understand what to expect from mediating online and to become comfortable with the online format. If you select me as your mediator, we will all sign the Agreement to Mediate. The Agreement describes how we will work together.
Session #1 – MEDIATION FOUNDATION
When you choose me as your mediator, I often recommend individual meetings with each spouse to learn of your separate concerns. Mediation Coaching, if desired, usually occurs before Session #1. The FOUNDATION Session usually lasts about 70 to 90 minutes. Sessions will meet via Zoom or a similar platform, but you may choose whether we use video or phone only. We may develop a projected Roadmap for your mediation or you may choose to follow a more free-form process.
Is Online Divorce 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. The total time required depends upon the issues involved and the level of conflict between the parties.
My online rate is $230 per hour for professional mediator time. Most joint sessions are between 90 minutes and 2 hours. Additional savings are available with Mediation Packages, which are described below and in more detail on the FEES page.
Plan 1, without minor children, is $2,730. Plan 1 includes up to 4 joint sessions, as well as individual coaching sessions and your custom settlement agreement. If you also engage me to prepare your court documents in Los Angeles County, the separate contract for the court documents will provide your written instructions to me. The total with court documents is $3,930.
Plan 2, with minor children, is $3,300. Plan 2 includes up to 5 joint sessions, as well as individual coaching sessions and your custom settlement agreement. If you engage me to prepare your court documents in Los Angeles County, the separate contract for the court documents will provide your written instructions to me. The total with court documents is $4,500. The FEES page has more information.
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. You will also need a court file. Your court papers, called “pleadings”, will be based on the terms of your Mediated Marital Settlement Agreement.
Options for Divorce Paperwork:
After you and your spouse reach your mediated agreement, you will still need to have a judge approve it. You have three options. 1. You may file all of your court forms and papers yourself. 2. You may hire your consulting attorney’s paralegal to prepare your documents. 3. In California, you may hire a Legal Document Assistant (LDA) to prepare your court documents for you to represent yourself, at your direction. The California Association of Legal Document Assistants (CALDA) has members in most counties. www. CALDA.org.
I am a Legal Document Assistant (LDA) in Los Angeles County, LDA#2019060225. I can prepare your court documents for you at your direction. Please note that while I am a retired Oregon attorney, and I have been mediating divorces in California for 15 years, I am NOT a member of the California bar. I cannot give either of you legal advice. We will have a separate written contract for legal document assistance. More information can be found on the FEES page.
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. Remember, the choices you make may affect how you live for the rest of your life, so obtaining sufficient information is a very good thing.
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 – Don’t Litigate – Mediate!
Mediation and litigation are polar opposites when it comes to power – who has the power, and how the power 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.”