What counties do you mediate cases in? I serve mediation clients in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties.
What happens if me and my partner try mediation, and we can't agree on anything? If mediation fails, the default process is going though the court system, which for some people includes each party hiring an attorney.
Can I avoid all the paperwork from court if I use mediation? Sadly, no. But for those clients that wish my office to prepare all the paperwork and submit to the court for processing, I am happy to do that.
Will mediation take long? Mediation is a real time saver. Clients often need only one or two meetings to discuss and address all the main issues. Homework will be assigned, which generally takes clients a couple hours to gather, organize and forward. Clients then review and approve documents, usually prepared by my office, which once approved are forwarded to the court for filing. After that, it's just waiting for the court to process the paperwork.
How does the mediation process start? Both clients contact me to start the process, by email. We set up a time to meet at a convenient location for all, and go over how the process works, timelines, homework, filing fees required by the court, and any other issues clients wish to discuss. At that time, we set up a meeting to get agreements on all the issues in the case that need resolution. If clients need more than these two initial meetings, they can be set up. Generally, these two meetings are sufficient for many clients, and the remaining communication is handled exclusively by email.
How much does the average mediation cost? Many mediation clients that engage my office for divorce spend about $2500 for the entire process, which includes filing fees and a couple hours of mediation time. Some clients engage me to resolve a discrete problem, such as revising an old parenting plan, which discussion may only take one meeting. Other clients will have more involved issues, more assets to divide, or other complexities that may add to the expense. Whatever the case, mediation clients have total control over their mediation budget, and set their own spending limits.
Since you're a lawyer, you can give me legal advice, right? While I am an attorney, and a Certified Family Law Specialist with the California State Board of Legal Specialization, I do not advise mediation clients on their rights under California Family Law. I will give clients a broad overview of the legal principals involved, and a sense of what they might encounter at court if they were to fall out of mediation, but clients are encouraged to consult with their own personal counsel to have any specific questions answered.
As the mediator, who do you represent? I don't represent either party in a mediation. I am a neutral, assisting the parties to reach agreements, formalize those agreements, and to prepare and submit paperwork to the court clerk for the parties when they request that service.