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Divorce and Family Mediation

Divorce is not an event and is far more than a legal process, Divorce is a major life transition that can be a stressful, emotional process.  Divorce involves several types of separation – sexual, physical, emotional, financial, and legal as well as a change in familial and friend relationships.

This process is already a lot to manage and the traditional adversarial legal approach to divorce can often escalate tensions, adding to the frustration, stress, pain, and cost of divorce. This stress not only impacts you, it impacts your children, your parents, your friends, and your workplace. There is another way! And, mediation will save you money!

In mediation, a neutral third party in the role of mediator leads the parties through a journey whose goal is to minimize both emotional stress  and financial expense. Mediation provides a safe space.

Commitment

Our commitment is to support our couples and families in discussing and developing agreement on the terms of divorce through a mediation process that supports a healthy and harmonious transition and sets the foundation for future communication. We are especially committed to the creation of an ongoing parenting relationship that focuses on the well-being of the children. Our commitment is supported by our underlying Values. Follow this link to see our values — values that guide us in our work. We subscribe to the principles set forth in the Model Standards of Conduct for Mediators.

What do we call a divorced family with children?   A family!

Are children involved?  Even grown children?  Mediation provides a safe process and environment to work through issues without creating additional conflicts that can arise in an adversarial legal context.  At Mediation Consultants, our intention is to support the creation of a new ongoing relationship for successful co-parenting.

Our Approach to Divorce

At Mediation Consultants LLC, we are committed to creating an environment that is respectful, caring, and attentive to the needs of both spouses as well as any children impacted by the divorce.  We live from a strong sense of human values, practice empathetic listening and speaking, and empower our clients to create the future that they desire.  Our intention is that our clients experience their divorce as transformative and mutually beneficial.

Information Session

We will be happy to meet with you to discuss our approach to mediation, answer questions, and get to know each other.  We charge a nominal fee of $50 for this in-person informational session. Of course, we are also happy to answer questions on the phone or by email - Contact Us.

The Mediation Process

  • Initially, the mediator meets separately with each party to prepare for the joint sessions. In this conversation concerns can be shared and addressed.
  • Joint mediation sessions are typically 3 hours long. Depending on the complexity of the situation (and the willingness of the parties to cooperate), a minimum of two sessions is required – with four being more common. It is during these sessions that agreements are made regarding the division of assets and debts. If children are involved, a parenting plan is also created. Each of these sessions has an agenda -- items that you know in advance are going to be discussed. After each session the mediator sends a letter to confirm the agreements that were reached, and the topics for the next session. In mediation, all of these agreements are made by you. You remain in control.
  • The result is a comprehensive settlement agreement that you have created. Legal documents/filings can be done LDAs, attorneys, or the parties themselves. We can provide a list of professionals that we work with or we will coordinate this for you.

Mediator Certification & Licensing

While there is a wide range of mediator training available, California does not certify and/or license mediators. Many mediators have less than 40 hours of training…. If a mediator claims to be ‘certified,’ let the buyer beware! Having received a ‘certificate of completion’ or been awarded a certificate is not the same as being ‘certified.’ It's a good idea to interview your prospective mediator, to understand his/her qualifications!

Fees

We have created three bundled divorce mediation packages, so you can know what to expect up front. You can choose the mediation package that best fits your circumstances. We can also create a custom plan for your unique situation. Each package includes the following:

  • Private Sessions with each spouse. Private sessions are separate one-hour sessions with each of you so we can get to know each other, identify specific concerns, and ensure you are empowered for the rest of the process.
  • Joint sessions. Joint sessions are typically two hours. The timeframe between the sessions is flexible to allow ample time to gather any needed information and/or materials, and to reenergize yourselves. You are not required to use all of the time allotted, but it may be helpful to know what the total cost is likely to be at the outset. it is comforting to know that you have the mediators time available to you if you need it.
  • Documentation of agreements. After each Joint session the mediator spends approximately thirty minutes drafting a letter (intersession letter) to the parties outlining the agreements that were made and the next steps. With each divorce mediation the result is a settlement agreement and support documents for creating the legal paperwork. The documents and next steps will be explained in detail before completing the mediation so that there is no confusion.
  • FREE two-hour training session in Conscious Communication to support positive communication with past or future marriage partners, children, family, friends, and co-workers.
  • FREE coupons for four (4) two-hour practice group meetings in Conscious Communication. Practice groups support deep and lasting learning of the Conscious Communication tools that will support positive relationships with past or future marriage partners, children, family, friends, and co-workers.

Short Mediation. The basic package is designed for those with relatively short-term marriages or where there are no children and no large joint assets (e.g., you do not own your own home). In addition to the two (2) Private sessions, two (2) Joint sessions with intersession letters are included. The cost is $2,100 (a $2,730 value with a savings of $630). Additional mediator time is available if needed for $350/hr.

Standard Mediation. This intermediate package is designed for those with children and/or for those with major joint assets. In addition to the two (2) Private sessions, four (4) Joint sessions with intersession letters are included. The cost is $ $3,600 (a $4,480 value with a savings of $880). Additional mediator time is available for $300/hr.

Extended Mediation. The extended package is designed for those with complex situations including difficult emotions, strongly held positions, or privately owned business. In addition to the two (2) Private sessions, six (6) Joint sessions with intersession letters are included. The cost is $5,100 (a $6,2300 value with a savings of $1,130). Additional mediator time is available for $250/hr.

Customized Package. Give us a call to discuss your unique situation. We are open to creating a plan that works for you!

Legal Advice

It is highly recommended the spouses get legal advice through unbundled legal services or by working with collaborative attorneys.  With unbundled legal services, an attorney is not retained but simply works on an hourly basis to provide legal advice.  This could involve just a couple of hours with an attorney to understand your rights and review agreements/documents.  In a mediation context, couples may agree to use collaborative rather than adversarial attorneys and the divorcing spouses pledge not to go to court.  Collaborative attorneys may be consulted individually or included within the mediation process.  The spouses agree to work together through negotiation or the services of a mediator.

Court Paperwork

The goal of our mediation is to support you in your creation of an agreement where everyone's needs can be met. This agreement provides the basis for the creation of the legal documents. We have a professional working relationship with Licensed Document Assistants and can coordinate this process for you. Fees vary, however, as an estimate, the legal paperwork for a basic uncontested divorce is approximately $1,100 to $1,500 (including the $395 court filing fee). To save more, you can do your own paperwork! For more information, see the Resources page on our website. Here is a link to our resources for divorce (opens in a new browser window).

Other Professionals

With complex divorces, the advice of additional professionals may be needed with any of the approaches described above.  These professionals may include Certified Public Accountants, Financial Planners, Real Estate Agents, and mental health professionals.

Call Now! 805.322.7476