Divorce Mediation FAQ
I Want to Mediate my Divorce. I want some legal advice.
Congratulations for wanting to resolve your divorce in a peaceful manner.
Mediation is the best way to handle your divorce.
However, if Kelly is your mediator, she cannot give you individual legal advice.
Your mediator is not your lawyer. They do not represent you, in court or otherwise.
I Want to Mediate, but My Ex Does Not
For mediation to work, BOTH of you must agree to a mediator.
Because the mediator is a neutral, they cannot give either of you individual advice.
My husband/wife is being difficult and refuses to mediate. He/she already hired a lawyer. I want to hire you to mediate for me.
This is a tough situation to be in. If the other side has hired a lawyer, there is an imbalance of power.
In this situation, you can still mediate. However, once someone hires an attorney, it is common the other will also hire one.
How Much Does Mediation Cost?
Depends on the mediator. Our offices have a $3500 retainer to start, billed against $700 per hour.
How long does it take to mediate?
Depends on the issues of your case. Some cases take only 1 session to iron out all the issues; others take several sessions.
How Do I Know My Mediator is UnBiased?
In our experience, mediations often fail because one party perceives that there is a mediator bias.
To avoid this, we strictly adhere to 3 office policies.
1. The Mediation Orientation is the first contact Kelly has with both parties. Any previous contact with our office is with staff regarding only protocol or pricing. It is important for both parties to understand Kelly’s capacity as a mediator, and trust that she did not previously give legal advice to either party, or favor one party over the other.
2. Both parties must attend the initial Mediation Orientation. In order for mediation work, the parties must choose this option. If Kelly gives legal advice to one side, she is automatically conflicted out from representing the other side; as well as mediator. If only one party attends, the orientation becomes a legal consultation, which costs $700 per hour ($350 per 1/2 hour).
3. Kelly does NOT communicate with either party in between sessions. There are no secret phone calls or emails. Both parties are copied on all emails. Calls to the office are answered by staff regarding procedure, pricing or scheduling.
How fast can we be divorced?
California law imposes a 6-month statutory period which runs from the time the Response is filed, or when the Respondent has been served.
However, you don’t need to wait to finalize your issues.
A Judgment can be entered on your case with a future date of divorce, and you just wait.
How do we prepare for the Mediation?
Once you have confirmed your mediation session, we send out a detailed email explaining Preliminary Declarations of Disclosures.
In California, prior to entry of Judgment, the law requires both of you to exchange complete financial information on forms such as the Income and Expense Declaration and Schedule of Assets and Debts.
We will email you the forms and explain how to prepare a draft for your upcoming mediation.
The Disclosures will be finalized and exchanged during your session with her.
Can you file our paperwork or do we need to hire an attorney?
Absolutely. If you already have an agreement in place, or if you reach an agreement in mediation, you can hire us to prepare your divorce paperwork to be filed with the Court.
We charge a flat fee of $4,000 for divorce without children; and $5,000 for divorce with children. (This includes ALL court and processing costs.)
How does a Mediator help resolve our case?
A mediator provides information and guidance based on their knowledge and experience in family law, and navigates you to settlement.
My experience and knowledge comes from below:
I have been practicing family law since 2000, and a Certified Family Law Specialist since 2008.
For over 22 years, I have litigated thousands of divorce cases and mediated several cases privately. I have also served as a Daily Settlement Officer with the Courts and sat as Judge Pro Tem.
What is your success rate as a mediator?
I started offering mediation services in 2016.
Since then, our mediation cases have increased every year, while our litigation cases decrease.
Currently, our firm handles approximately 20-30 mediations a year, and resolved all but few cases.
All Family Law Cases Deserve Mediation
I believe every family law case benefits from mediation. Especially if there are children.
The divorce proceedings are temporary – but your family and children are forever.
Unlike a car accident, where you will never see the person you sued again – in a divorce, you will share children. Or pets. Or friends.
Divorce is not an ending.
It is a re-organization. Divorce is restructure.
Your life and your children’s lives will go on for better or worse – you choose.
Some cases absolutely need to be litigated.
These are difficult times, and there are difficult lawyers out there that create difficult clients.
Absent parents suddenly and unreasonably want 50/50.
Scorned men and women want revenge and punishment.
Broken trust leads to allegations of hidden assets and other wrongdoings.
I have litigated divorce cases for over 22 years. You may win a hearing or 2, or 10. But when your divorce drags on for over 15 years (My LONGEST divorce case) and costs over 5 million dollars, NOBODY wins.
Mediators are peacemakers.
Litigators want to win – that is their objective. This is your family, there is no winning.
Mediators are peacemakers.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Matthew 5:9