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Ending your marriage can be a traumatic experience, but mediation can make divorce easier and more affordable. In mediation, parties meet with divorce mediator Michael Beanvides or Jin Kim to resolve their issues outside of court. In contrast to the high cost of litigation in family court, mediation can save parties thousands of dollars in attorney fees.
How Much Does Divorce Mediation Cost?
Mediation can be an affordable alternative to litigation in family court. Unlike divorce attorney fees, mediation does not require a large upfront retainer fee. Instead, mediation occurs on a pay-as-you-go basis with the client making payment for each session at the time of service. Accordingly, mediation can help parties work towards their marital settlement agreement while they spread out the total cost over several months, much like collaborative divorce although there are key differences between the two.
The total cost of mediation will depend upon the facts and temperament of the parties. With that said, we do offer flat-fee divorce mediation that includes preparation of the marital settlement agreement
$200 First Consultation
During the consultation, you and your spouse will meet with divorce mediator Michael Benavides or Jin Kim for an hour to explore the viability of mediation. The mediator will explain the mediation process, review the facts of your case, and answer questions. If you and your spouse decide to proceed with mediation and end your search for a good mediator, the next step will be signing a divorce mediation agreement and scheduling the next several sessions.
$250 Per Session
It’s very rare for a couple to negotiate all of their issues in one mediation session. For instance, a couple with children will need to agree with respect to a parenting plan, property division, spousal support, and child support. For each mediation session, the divorce mediator charges a flat fee of $250 at the time of service. The total number of sessions to complete divorce mediation will depend upon the parties and issues. Nevertheless, the mediator is there to help the parties come to negotiated agreements within an efficient timespan.
$3,000 Flat Fee Divorce Mediation Package
Some clients want the comfort of a flat fee for mediation sessions and document preparation. Sacramento divorce mediator Jin Kim offers a $3,000 flat-fee package that includes the consultation, up to 5 hours of mediation, and drafting the petition, financial disclosures, marital settlement agreement, and final judgment packet.
$1,800 Document Preparation
If no mediation is required, meaning that the parties agree on all aspects of their divorce, Jin Kim offers a flat fee package of $1,800 for drafting the aforementioned documents. Once drafted, the parties can file the documents to secure an uncontested divorce and court orders with respect to custody, support, and property division.
Divorce Mediation FAQS
How is mediation defined under the law?
The law defines mediation as “a process in which a neutral person or persons facilitate communication between the disputants to assist them in reaching a mutually acceptable agreement”. [Evidence Code 1115(a)]
Is mediation mandatory?
It depends on the case. Mediation is mandatory if the case involves contested custody, stepparent, or grandparent visitation. Parties can also choose to go through mediation even if the law doesn’t require it, in which case mediation is considered voluntary.
Who is a mediator?
A mediator is a neutral person who conducts mediation. It includes any person designated by a mediator either to assist in the mediation or to communicate with the participants in preparation for a mediation.
What are the roles of the mediator and the parties in mediation?
The primary role of the mediator is to assist the parties in coming to a settlement that they both agree on. The parties, meanwhile, are the ones who are primarily responsible for settling their disputes.
What does mediation hope to achieve?
The following are just some of the goals that mediation hopes to achieve:
- Encourage communication and cooperation.
- Prevent detrimental actions between parties, such as verbal attacks, blaming or punishing.
- Layout all the possible options for resolving the dispute.
- Design a plan that’s a good fit for the children if custody is an issue.
How can I decide if I should go through mediation?
There is no single test to determine if a party should go to mediation or not. At best, a party should consider all aspects of the case, such as his or her motivations and needs, before deciding to go to mediation (or not).
What are the advantages of mediation?
There are several advantages if a party chooses to go through mediation, such as:
- Parties get to decide for themselves, instead of submitting the decision to a third person.
- Parties have the option of choosing flexible arrangements that will best serve their needs
- Mediation is a more private forum to air out grievances and concerns, as it is protected by confidentiality.
- Communication between parties is improved.
- Less traumatic on the children involved.
- Mediation may result in a faster resolution of the divorce.
- Cost-saving compared to other options.
What are the disadvantages of mediation?
Mediation is not a perfect solution to all problems, and there are also disadvantages that come with it. One of the biggest possible disadvantages is that a party may receive an unfair settlement, especially since only the parties participate in it. If the settlement is challenged in court, the parties may end up spending more money than if the matter had gone to litigation at the outset.
Can I hire an attorney to help me through mediation?
Yes. In fact, both of the parties may each hire a separate consulting attorney, in which case the consulting attorneys will be referred to as ‘independent legal counsel(s)’.
What are the services that I can expect of my attorney during mediation?
The following services may be provided by an attorney:
- Reviewing the agreement to mediate
- Give the client advise on the procedure to be followed
- Assist the client in identifying the issue to be discussed
- Guide the client with regard to necessary information and documentation.
- Provide the client with a thorough understanding of the laws involved.
- Suggest solutions and strategies.
Can I withdraw from mediation if it’s not working for me?
Yes, a party may withdraw from mediation at any time, for any reason.
What’s the difference between mediation and arbitration?
In arbitration, the ultimate decision regarding the case lies with the arbitrator, who acts like a judge. In mediation, the parties work out the settlement between themselves.