Q & A
Q: Who do you work for as the “mediator?”
A: Although I am an attorney, in my role as the mediator, I am not the attorney for either party. Instead, I provide information and guidance to both parties based upon my years of experience and knowledge of family law to facilitate the parties’ negotiation and enable them to reach a resolution.
Q: Who does the paperwork?
A: I prepare all of the paperwork necessary to file your case and necessary to memorialize the agreements reached in mediation.
Q: How quickly can you get me divorced?
A: California law imposes a mandatory six month waiting period before the status of a marriage can be terminated so that you cannot be legally divorced until six months from the time the Petition for Dissolution is served. However, there is no such requirement or time constraints for the other issues incident to divorce, such as custody, support and property division; and, we can work to resolve those issues long before the six month waiting period is over.
Q: What steps can I/We take to prepare for mediation?
A: In every divorce case, certain financial disclosures must be made between the parties; there is no way around this and neither I nor anyone else can get you divorced with exchange of such disclosure statements. Both parties are required to complete an Income and Expense Declaration and a Schedule of Assets and Debts. Being familiar with all of your assets, debts, and all sources of income helps to enable me to identify potential issues for discussion early on.
Q: Describe your mediation process?
A: Most mediation sessions, if not all, are joint. We all meet together, go through the disclosure statements and address issue by issue. On occasion, I will privately “caucus” with the parties individually. No two mediations are alike. Some mediations require more in person meetings whereas others can be dealt with remotely (e.g. through email and phone calls).
Q: If mediation is successful, do we need to appear in Court?
Q: Do you charge for costs? If so, what costs can be anticipated?
A: Yes, I charge for direct costs. They include, but are not limited to, Court filing fees and messenger fees.
Q: Do we need lawyers too in mediation?
A: Only if you want them. You are free to consult with whomever you like, including, but not limited to attorneys, accountants, marriage and family therapists, actuaries, etc. Consulting attorneys are typically not present in the mediation sessions.
Q: If we start the mediation process, are we required to complete it?
A: No. Mediation is completely voluntary. Neither party can be compelled to conclude their matter through the mediation process.
Q: What do you believe are the benefits of mediation ?
A: In a Court of law, a Judge is required to apply the law to the facts of the case. Although many issues are “black and white,” the law allows for gray area and uncertainty. Mediation gives the parties’ certainty inasmuch as they are free to make whatever deal or agreements they can. Mediation allows you to not only control the outcome, but also the timing. You can finalize your agreement on your own time frame. Mediation is oftentimes a significant financial savings than a different course of action. The savings is a result of direct communication between the parties, voluntary disclosure, and avoidance of court hearings.
Q: Do you charge for consultations?
A: I provide a free 30 minute consultation, which may be done in person at my office or telephonically.