What is mediation?
In our office, it’s a private and confidential process during which the mediator acts as a neutral, impartial facilitator of agreements.
How do I know if mediation will be successful?
There are three crucial components to a successful resolution: (1) ability to mediate, (2) readiness to mediate, and (3) an experienced, professional attorney-mediator. We’ve got #3 handled for you, and we’ll work with you at your free consultation to help you decide whether you are able and ready.
How long does mediation take?
The process can be finished in a few weeks or extended over a year. The mediator works for you. One of the first things you’ll be asked to do is identify your timeline. Then the mediator will work with you to set a resolution schedule tailored to meet it. There’s no “average,” though many of our clients complete the process in under three months.
Isn’t it in my best interest to hire a lawyer to fight for me?
Many people believe this, and sometimes it is true. However, the adversarial nature of the court process combined with the financial incentives for bill-by-the-hour lawyers means that even simple divorces can escalate quickly into expensive, stressful, draw-out legal battles. If you feel you need an attorney to protect you from violence, financial fraud, or abusive parenting, mediation might not be right for you. However, if you simply want to ensure that you have a fair, equitable, and reasonable result, consulting with an attorney during mediation may feel quite sufficient.
What if mediation doesn’t work?
Since we screen clients carefully and have created a uniquely effective mediation process, it’s very rare that mediation doesn’t work. In the rare circumstances that mediation is terminated and participants go to Court, our mediator will not represent either spouse, will not cooperate with the litigation process in any way, and will invoke every right provided under California law to refuse to provide testimony or evidence.
What are the requirements to be a mediator?
Well, this is scary but true: there are none. In the state of California, there are absolutely no professional, legal, educational or ethical requirements for mediators. Look for a mediator with a 40-hour certification, extensive education in family law, and more than a hundred hours’ mediating experience. We recommend using an attorney-mediator because divorce, even though people don’t think of it this way, is a lawsuit. Non-attorney mediators may not have the experience required with the court system, familiarity with California law, ability to draft your paperwork, or fiduciary obligations to manage your fees.
We can’t agree on anything! Can we mediate?
Yes! So long as you are able, ready, and willing to seek a mutually beneficial result, mediation can be successful even in very high conflict dynamics.
How does mediation work?
Interest-based mediation supports productive communication that is geared toward your interests, ideas, priorities and concerns. In court, people take positions that pit them against each other. In mediation, we work together toward a mutually-beneficial result.
Why do I have to attend a free consultation with my spouse?
The consultation will help you understand whether you are able and ready to mediate. You get a chance to connect with the mediator in order to ensure a comfortable fit.
How much does mediation cost?
We offer affordable unique fixed-fee packages that allow you to know the total cost of your divorce upfront, avoid escalating fees, and tailor your process to your budget and individual needs. Please see packages and prices. If you’re interviewing another mediator, ask for specific details on pricing and request that the mediator put together a written estimate of your fees. View our Packages and Prices
Do we have to go to court?
In California, you never need to set foot in the courthouse if you have agreed on all the terms of your divorce. Our mediator will file all of your paperwork, get the Judge’s approval, and finalize the divorce without any court appearances.
Do you take every case?
No. It’s important to us that we only commence mediation if we believe the couple has a very high chance at a successful resolution. If we don’t believe we are the right fit for you, we will tell you this and will provide alternative referrals.
Is the mediator lawyer for both of us?
Our mediators are attorneys, but they aren’t your attorney. This is because attorneys cannot represent two people on opposite sides of a lawsuit, and divorce is a lawsuit. So, because the lawyer can’t represent both of you, she represents neither participant. The attorney acts as a neutral, impartial mediator to facilitate agreement and complete all of your legal documents.
What is included in mediation?
Our office provides comprehensive mediation services that include, in addition to mediation session: preparation for your sessions, follow up, attorney-drafted paperwork to complete all the procedural aspects of the divorce, extra drop-in sessions, and unlimited calls/emails to support you through the process.
We already agreed on everything Do we have to mediate?
Sometimes there are no conflicts to resolve, but mediation is still helpful to ensure that you have reached a complete agreement, that it is legally enforceable, that it will be accepted by the Court, and that there are no misunderstandings.
Why don’t you give free consultations to individuals?
For the same reason that your doctor, dentist, therapist or mechanic don’t see you for free. We are professionals who will set aside time to use our training and education in order to advise you and help solve problems. We carry liability insurance to protect you, utilize industry-specific software to serve you, and bring over a decade of exclusively family law experience. We offer a free written follow up so you have a record of everything discussed. We are confident you’ll find value in paying for a consultation. Schedule a Consultation