Mediation is a process in which conflicting parties voluntarily participate in a joint effort to reach a settlement. A neutral third party—the mediator—facilitates communication between the parties, addresses all barriers to resolution, and helps create a settlement to which all parties can agree.
As a California Divorce Mediator and a State Licensed Legal Document Assistant I am qualified to help you work through the terms of your divorce, and at your final direction, prepare all the necessary court forms and documents.
It’s highly unlikely. In 99.9% of all my cases, my clients have completed the entire process from the comfort of their home. All your completed documents will be filed by my office at your direction, and you won’t be forced to spend any time away from work or family matters by having to appear in court.
Yes. I regularly help divorcing couples work through issues related to their children, including child custody and support. I provide my clients with an extensive parenting worksheet where we work out all the details of your parenting plan. This approach gives you the opportunity to customize a parenting plan that meets your family’s needs, rather than having a judge dictate it for you.
Traditional divorce costs can run two to ten times higher than the cost of mediation.
Many family law attorneys charge legal fees, such as a retainer fee of between $2,500 and $5,000 for average cases. They may also bill the client for services in addition to the time covered by the retainer. The retainer amount will be substantially more in complex cases, so the cost of mediation from beginning to end can be less than the combined retainer fees would be if both parties hired lawyers to handle their divorce.
Also, keep in mind that "cost" not only means dollars spent, but also the emotional cost that and your children would experience by going through a litigated divorce. In many cases, mediation greatly reduces the emotional cost of a divorce.
Once an agreement has been signed, that agreement is enforceable. In addition, a judgment based on the agreement is prepared and filed with the signed agreement with the court. At this point, it is just as enforceable as any other divorce judgment.
As mediator, I will not allow one party to overpower the other in mediation. If one of the parties is unable to be effective during this process, I may stop the mediation entirely or may choose to meet with the parties separately and relay communication between them to help them better manage their emotions and communicate about the issues more effectively. In my experience, however, many persons who considered themselves to be the "weaker" of the two spouses have been quite effective in mediation.
No case is too complicated to be settled using mediation. Parties in mediation frequently consult with outside experts such as accountants, appraisers, financial planners, and attorneys throughout the process.
It is rare to agree on all issues right away, so even if that is the case, mediation is rarely a wasted effort. My goal as your mediator is to help you find creative solutions to all your disagreements and create a middle ground where you can both be satisfied with the result and get what you truly need to move forward.
Although many mediating couples are amicable and work well in mediation, there are also many couples who are very emotional about the divorce and don't think they can negotiate face to face.
Part of every qualified mediator's training is assisting couples who have high emotions but who still would like to work things out peacefully. Over time, people are usually able and willing to calm down and become effective mediation participants when they see that the process can work without adding to the high emotional and financial cost of divorce.