The following are frequently asked questions about the divorce mediation process. If you have other questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our divorce mediation lawyers. We will schedule a mediation strategy session.
What is the divorce mediation process?
Farzad Family Law’s Orange County divorce mediation process has two parts:
STEP ONE: We meet. Most cases, especially those involving a middle class couple, require one initial meeting where we all talk about the issues, a list is provided to each of you regarding information to gather up and bring back, and a second meeting is held one to two weeks later to review all of the information. For many cases, these two meetings will result in a settlement of at least some of the issues. If necessary, additional meetings are held until all of the necessary and legally required information (called disclosures) between you and your spouse have been exchanged. These meetings are typically 1-2 hours and both you and your spouse must be present.
STEP TWO: Once you two have settled all of the issues or settled those issues you can agree upon, Farzad Family Law prepares the written divorce settlement agreement in a format that will be approved by the Court so you not only have a written agreement but Family Court orders.
How long does the divorce mediation process take?
This varies depending on the complexity of the divorce case and both you and your spouse’s ability to gather the information and documents we need regarding income, assets and debts. Some mediations can result in settlement in as short as a few weeks. Others can take a few months. Regardless, it will be significantly shorter (and less expensive) than the divorce litigation alternative.
How much does mediation cost?
We offer both hourly rate and flat fee plans depending on the size of your marital estate and the complexity of the issues. Most mediations will cost between $2,000.00 to $5,000.00. Check out our divorce mediation fees and options page for more information.
What if we’re not sure if we want to start the mediation process?
No problem. Let us help you decide. We will usually first talk on the phone to make sure we believe your case is a good fit for our divorce mediation process and we will then bring you in for a confidential mediation strategy session at an affordable consultation fee. You have nothing to lose by speaking with us and everything to gain.
Is it too late to start the mediation process if we have already been litigating the issues?
Not at all. You can bring us in as your divorce mediators at any point in the case, early, middle or later. We would of course prefer that we be brought into the case at an early stage so we can save you the most amount of time and money but that is not mandatory and you can start mediation with us at any time.
What information will you need me bring to the first mediation meeting?
You don’t have to bring anything to the first meeting unless you want to do so and there is anything specific you need us to review. The first meeting is intended to familiarize our mediators with you and your spouse.
Once we get to know you at that first meeting and get an understanding of the divorce issues you have in your case, we will let each of you know what we will need at the next meeting and give you easy to understand documents to fill out. We take a low pressure approach to every mediation. You and your spouse will be comfortable and informed throughout the entire process. It’s the only way for effective communication and results.
Will one mediator be assigned to our case?
Yes, although our law firm uses the “team” approach to handling cases, there is generally only one mediator assigned to your case. On complex cases, there can be two mediators assigned but we do not overlap services so you never have to worry about two people working on your case and billing you at the same time for the same task.
Do I still need a law firm to handle my mediation or can I go to a non-attorney service?
We strongly recommend against using non-attorney mediators. Your mediator should be an experienced divorce lawyer who not only understands the law but knows the Family Court procedure and process. No amount of non-attorney training or classes will make up for this lack of experience. Quite bluntly, there are way too many people out there who call themselves divorce mediators but lack the knowledge, experience and necessary training to handle your marital estate.
What if we agree on some things but not everything?
That is normal. On the issues you do agree on, we will give both of you direction and formalize your agreement. On the issues you don’t, we will work with both you and your spouse to find out why there is a disagreement and see if we can help you resolve those issues. Divorce mediation doesn’t have to be all or nothing and it should not be. If there is reasonable disagreement on a few issues, those can be litigated while the rest of the issues resolve.
Is mediation just meeting in the middle of what I want versus what my spouse wants?
No. Our divorce mediation process focuses on your facts and the law. We don’t just take your position, your spouse’s position and meet you in the middle unless that is consistent with the law. The advantage you have of hiring a law firm like Farzad Family Law that are experienced divorce lawyers is that we give you a reasonable idea of what we believe the Family Court may do on your case. That way, if you and your spouse have a major disagreement, we can give you a “preview” of what may happen if both of you go to Court. This often leads to both of you having a better idea of what to expect and, therefore, a much better chance of settlement.
My spouse is difficult and may not honor the agreement we sign. Should I still participate in mediation?
Yes. The agreement you and your spouse sign will become a Family Court order. Failing to honor it will have serious consequences for your spouse and once he or she is informed of that, you may find your spouse becomes far less reluctant to violate it.
Can what I say in mediation be used against me in divorce court?
No. With very limited exception, the California Evidence Code makes statements made in the course of mediation confidential.
Who pays for your mediation fees?
That is up to you and your spouse. There is no hard and fast rule and we will speak with both of you about what we think is fair.
Do you offer payment plans for your mediation fees?
Please contact us should you have any questions about our law firm’s divorce mediation process. There are three ways to reach us:
Contact us by telephone direct at 714.937.1193 or toll-free 877.857.6500.
Click on the Contact Us button below to go to our Contact Us page.