Frequently Asked Questions About Family Law

FAQ ‘s: Here I have compiled a list of questions that people often ask me.

Remember, there is no such thing as a dumb question. If you don’t know something, ask!

I update this list frequently, so if you have a question, please submit it here. I guarantee someone out there has the same question.

Remember, any information on my website or blog in NO WAY should be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please schedule a consult.

    In addition, you may find information on my frequently updated BLOG helpful.

    Mediation - Top 10 Questions

    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, though they may be A lawyer, is not YOUR lawyer. They do not represent you, in court or otherwise. If you want legal advice while your mediation with another mediator is pending,  Kelly can serve as your consulting attorney, or representative attorney.  But Kelly cannot be both your attorney and the mediator. For me to serve as your mediator, BOTH of you must agree to hire her as your mediator.  Kelly is a neutral and she cannot give either of you individual advice.  In our experience, mediations often fail because one party perceives that there is a mediator bias for one party. To avoid this, we strictly adhere to 3 office policies to maintain our neutrality:
    The Mediation Orientation is the first contact Kelly has with both parties.
    Any previous contact with our office is with staff regarding 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.
    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 $500.
    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.

    This is a tough situation to be in.  Mediation only works if both of you are in agreement to mediate.  Read this article if your spouse is refusing to mediate.

    If the other side has hired a lawyer, there is an imbalance of power.  In this situation, you can still mediate if he agrees.  But here is how this would work: Kelly would be a neutral mediator.  Your husband/wife would have a lawyer.  And you would represent yourself.

    Thus, in this situation where your husband/wife has already hired a lawyer, we recommend that you also hire a lawyer.  The case can still settle, but Kelly would not be a mediator in your case.  You can hire Kelly to be your attorney – the first step is to book a legal consultation.

    That depends on you two.  Usually, I am able to help you settle your case in about 1-3 mediation sessions.

    It depends.  It’s entirely possible to finalize your divorce issues in one day.  However, 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.

    Once you have confirmed your mediation session with your deposit, Kelly will send 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.

    Kelly 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.

    Our mediation sessions last 3 hours and cost $2,500, broken down as follows: $500 per hour for a 3-hour mediation session plus 2 hours for administrative work performed in between sessions, such as finalizing Preliminary Declarations of Disclosures, preparing mediation summaries and agendas, etc.

    If you reach an agreement in mediation, we prepare your paperwork.  Document preparation is a separate charge, listed below.

    Depending on the issues you have, it may take 1-2 sessions, or over 10 sessions to complete.

    Absolutely.  If you already have an agreement, or 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 $3,500 for processing an uncontested divorce without children; and $4,000 for an uncontested divorce with children.  This includes all court costs (Currently, the court charges approximately $900 in filing fees).

    Please note that our office processes uncontested divorces, where both parties file a first appearance.

    We do not process default divorces, where only one party files a first appearance.

    I use my expertise to help you substantively and procedurally.

    Substantive Law

    I have been a family law attorney for over 23 years.  During that time, I have litigated and mediated thousands of cases.  I know the law inside out, and further more, I know what you are experiencing.  You are not alone.


    The law is confusing.  The forms you must complete are voluminous.  Doing a divorce yourself is like fixing your own toilet.  I suppose you could go it alone, but it would probably not be a good use of your time.

    I can provide you both information and guidance based on my knowledge and experience as a family law litigator for over 23 years.

    Kelly started offering mediation services in 2016.  Since then, our mediation cases have increased every year.  Currently, our firm handles approximately 20-30 mediations a year, and resolved all but 2 cases.

    Kelly will try her best to help settle your case!

    If, however, there are issues of domestic violence, or non-disclosure of hidden assets, or there is a power imbalance which prevent the case from settling, the case may not settle at mediation.

    If the case does not settle, Kelly will NOT be able to represent either of you in Court.

    We will refer you to trustworthy attorneys who will not over-litigate your case and ruin your life.