Frequently Asked Questions
What is mediation?
Mediation is a confidential process through which people with a dispute meet with a trained impartial third party called a mediator. The disputing parties, facilitated by a mediator, discuss concerns, devise solutions, and create a mutually acceptable agreement. The agreement is a legally enforceable and binding civil contract.
Divorce mediation: It is a formal process for the dissolution of a Marriage, Registered Domestic Partnership, or a relationship between an un-married couple who were in a committed relationship not bound by law - but bound by financial, moral, and ethical, promises and obligations, with or without children. It produces binding agreements enforced through the court.
There is no issue too serious, and no dollar amount too large for mediation. Mediation will resolve:
Custody / Visitation
Special needs (Children and/or Spouse)
All issues no matter how unique or extraordinary.
How is mediation beneficial for children?
Sometimes, when a couple fights a litigation divorce battle, the emotional well being of their children can be neglected in the process. Because mediation is a non-adversarial process, the best interest of all parties, including the children is of utmost concern. Whereas in litigation, ‘winning,’ becomes the paramount concern. As parents, you will have more time, and retain parental control, to work out the issues regarding your children's welfare. And since mediation is less costly and time-consuming than litigation, your stress level is reduced which can have positive effects on both you and your children.
Who will mediate my case? How is a mediator chosen?
We assign a mediator Certified by John P Biancardi, Founder and President of Divorce Mediation Associates. The mediator will have the necessary training, experience, and specialized knowledge for divorce.
Do I need a lawyer to represent me when I participate in mediation?
Attorneys are allowed to accompany their clients in a mediation by law. However, the greater majority of our divorce cases (greater than 90%) do not include attorneys. Clients know that we (mediators) are there to facilitate and manage the sessions and discussions, and that we would not allow fraud, intimidation, bullying, or any inequity of justice during the negotiations or in the settlement. Most clients choose mediation without attorneys to save all of the costs related to representation and litigation, one such cost saving is an attorney’s fees.
An alternative used by some clients is to hire an attorney to review their settlement agreement before they sign it.
What if the other party has an attorney and I do not?
The mediation is just as successful. Although the law permits attorneys to attend with his or her client, the mediator is in charge and regulates all communication. The client will be expected to speak for his/herself to tell their side of the story. If the unrepresented client perceives that the attorney representation makes for an "uneven playing field" he/she has the right to hire an attorney, and/or have their agreement reviewed by an attorney before signing it. All rules for attorney participation will be explained prior to the mediation, and enforced by the mediator.
If I have already hired a lawyer, can I still mediate?
Yes! Once you have hired an attorney, he/she must be involved in all communication and matters related to your case. Simply have your counsel present with you during the mediation process, and/or an attorney can agree that you will conduct your own negotiations and that he/she will review your agreement before you sign it.
How much does Divorce Mediation Associates charge?
Much less than a typical divorce attorney, on average 90% less than litigation. Our services are based on one low flat-fee rate of $4850.00. Court document preparation is included in our fee, and the parties never have to appear in court.
How long does it take to process a case into mediation?
We strive to have our cases actively begin the mediation process within 48 hours of having conducted our preliminary intake and securing signed paperwork and mediation authorization forms. We then assign a mediator and determine when the mediation will be held to accommodate our clients' schedules and location.
How long does mediation take?
A court case can drag on for years while serving as a constant painful reminder of your breakup. The sooner you can settle your past relationship, the sooner you can begin to move forward with your life. When you and your spouse / partner work together to resolve issues, you can accomplish in days what it can take lawyers and the courts years to do.
Length of actual mediation session: The average length of time to complete a divorce / dissolution is eight (8) divided into two four-hour sessions.
How long does it take to process a case into mediation?
Clients can begin their first session as fast as 24 hours if needed, depending on the clients’ schedules and our mediators’ availability. Whereas litigation can take weeks or even months before clients receive a court date.
Is mediation binding and enforceable?
Yes! Settlements reached in mediation are authorized and approved by the court, and they are absolutely enforced by the courts. Your divorce mediation concludes with a settlement agreement. It is a formal legal document that is submitted to the court that states your terms and protects all of your legal rights.
How can I convince my spouse or partner?
Our experience tells us that you are your own best advocate when it comes to proposing mediation to your spouse or partner as the best venue for your divorce. However, we know that some couples simply cannot communicate, and the intervention by a neutral third party is needed. At your request, we will make the initial contact with your spouse requesting their participation.
We serve all of southern california.
How do I begin mediation?
Call our toll free number at: 1 (800) 280-1709 for your FREE Consultation and confidential case review by staff experts.