Divorce Mediator Qualifications: All of the mediators at The Divorce Help Clinic have law degrees and strong experience in family law, and have specific training in DIVORCE mediation. Our attorney mediators are also LICENSED attorneys in the state of California. These are qualities that make us stand out against our competitors.
Mediator Matching: We have a diverse group of mediators.
Divorce-Mediation is an alternative to litigation (where attorneys battle against each other to win). Mediation is about talking constructively about the issues you and your spouse have not been able to agree on, on your own. It’s not the easiest thing to do in normal circumstances and in the face of highly charged issues (i.e. children, finances, support), it’s harder still. This is especially true when you’re frustrated. Mediation works because you have a trained, experienced professional mediator helping you. Our mediators help you describe and hear what’s most important to both of you, to reach a common understanding about your situation, and come to an agreement or other solution.
Mediation DOES the Full Divorce from Start to Finish. A common misconception is that mediation only completes part of the divorce process. The Divorce Help Clinic is a full service mediation firm and we do everything from filing the initial court documents, assist the couple to make decisions on support, division of finances as well as debt, and custody and visitation. In addition, wecomplete the legal documentation, notarize the final Marital Settlement Agreement and file everything with the court. Best of all, you and your spouse never have to go to court.
COST. We offer hourly rate and don’t charge for what is typically billable communication (emails/phone calls/faxes/photocopies). Please call to get a FAQ packet emailed to you that goes over some of the most common questions we receive from clients as well as our fee structure.
Free Mediation Consultation. We offer a free 30-minute mediation consultation for you and your spouse to come in and get your questions answered. We do require both parties to attend the consultation to ensure you receive the information you need to determine if mediation is appropriate for you.
How Mediation Works. You meet with the mediator for the consultation. We mediation is the process you want to use and we are the right fit then we will open a case file for you at TDHC and schedule your first appointment. Both parties meet individually with the mediator at an hour intake. This helps to focus on identifying the situation, on what’s important to everyone concerned, ensure all preparation documents and disclosures are completed and everyone is prepared for mediation session. This is the best way to use your time in session most efficiently. Then the mediation session is held with both parties and the mediator. It is the mediator’s job to help you talk together directly in a way that gets you to the solutions you need.
Why Mediation Works. Mediation works because it’s designed from the start to reach an agreement. Everyone is kept on track toward getting to the decision you can all agree on. It works because you have the assistance of trained, professional mediators.
The mediation is structured to create a different quality of discussion. Instead of debating about what might happen in court, you talk about what’s important to you. Instead of arguing over legal rights and obligations, you identify your priorities. Instead of exchanging threats, you exchange ideas. Instead of weighing what a judge might do, you weigh options.
What if we can’t Agree? People can reach productive solutions even when they don’t see eye to eye. Sustainable solutions come from collaborative negotiations. Clear-eyed assessments of the situation. Squarely facing the problem. Frank discussions about what is going to take to solve it. Unvarnished appraisals of what’s possible and what’s most important. Structured exchanges of value. These are the negotiations that produce durable agreements.
Will a Mediated Divorce be Private? The entire process of mediation is done discretely and confidentially.
“In mediation, the private issues discussed in session as well as your personal and business finances are kept out of public records. When using attorneys to obtain a divorce, nothing is private. Any “Joe” can access your information at any time.”
Your mediation is protected by laws which provide that what happens in mediation is privileged—that it can’t be brought out in court and will not become public record.
The Court guarantee confidentiality for those using the diplomacy of mediation. The goal is to encourage people to agree on their own without clogging the courts with their fighting. It’s not about compromising but bargaining the right arrangement for each person.
Document Preparation in Mediation: Although our mediators cannot and do not represent you within the mediation (as they work as neutrals), they are licensed attorneys and are therefore able to draft and file all of the necessary documents to initiate and finalize your divorce, including your Marital Settlement Agreement.
Role of Attorney in Mediation: Following mediation, the contents of your Marital Settlement Agreement is transcribed to reflect the agreements you and your spouse want in the final judgment. While you do not need to retain an attorney to finalize your divorce, it is highly recommended that you consult with an attorney (typically only a couple of hours) to review your Marital Settlement Agreement prior to signing it. You may also choose to use an outside consulting attorney to review the Agreement from your own personal perspective and give you feedback as to the agreements made.
Lawyers who Mediate Divorces: Why can’t they give me legal advice? First of all, a lawyer can only play one role in your divorce—as either an attorney OR a mediator. They cannot do them simultaneously. The Rules of Professional Conduct prohibit mediators from advising you on your legal rights while mediating with you and your partner. So they cannot ethically advise you, but more to the point, that’s to your advantage.
Your lawyer is just that—your lawyer. Your lawyer has a duty of loyalty to you and, in this dispute, to you alone. Your lawyer is your loyal advisor and ally.
In mediation, we are not only just your mediator, we are your partner’s mediator, too. This means we can’t have a loyalty to you over the other person. And that’s your advantage: we work with both of you and for both of you.
Like a judge, the law calls mediators to be a neutral. And like a judge managing the litigation, we manage the mediation. But unlike a judge, who is there for the state’s benefit—and to decide your case for you, we’re here for your benefit. Our job is to help you all reach the agreement that is your best solution.
So your lawyer and our mediators have different jobs. Your lawyer protects and advises you on your legal rights, and we manage the mediation process. We each get to focus on what we do best, and you benefit from the efficiency of it.
The mediators who work for The Divorce Help Clinic have all graduated from law school and fully understand the law, the legal process and the litigation that is your alternative to working things out yourselves. Our attorney mediators are also LICENSED attorneys in the state of CA.
How does Divorce Mediation work if you have children? If you have minor children, a mediator will help raise a flag of truth to facilitate the creation of a co-parenting plan (a.k.a. child custody and visitation schedule) that makes the children’s welfare the top priority.