You might not always be a couple, but you’ll always be parents.

We know that you want the best for your kids. At Conscious Divorce, we encourage mediation as a way to reach workable solutions that put your children’s best interests first.

 

What is custody mediation?

Mediation is an active, non-adversarial process in which a neutral mediator helps couples privately identify and resolve child custody and child support related issues that conventionally would be resolved in Court, which is adversarial and quite expensive.

When parents are not married, but still need to resolve issues regarding the custody and financial support of their minor child(ren), a “Petition to Establish a Parental Relationship” is filed with the court in order to open an underlying court case in which agreements of the parties can be filed as enforceable court orders. This type of case is called a “Parentage” or sometimes “”Paternity” case.

Who is it for?

  • Non-married couples with children who:
    • Need assistance in reaching a workable agreement regarding child custody and support
    • Are interested in developing a child centered co-parenting plan that is in the best interest of their children.
    • Want to stay out of court and protect their children from the emotional stresses common in the traditional adversarial-based litigation model.

Benefits of Mediation 

  • Stay Out of Court and In Control

Through mediation, the participants, not the Court, maintain control over the outcome of their case. You can choose your mediator, but you cannot choose your judge. Do you really want a stranger making critical decisions about the most important and cherished aspect of your life… your children?

Do you really want a stranger making critical decisions about the most personal and intimate aspects of your life? Wouldn’t utilizing a lower-cost, more effective approach where you maintain control over such important decisions be a better choice?

  • Mediation Is Better For Your Children

 A critical part of mediation is learning to communicate better. Since both parties work together to develop a child-centered plan, it encourages more effective long-term co-parenting and provides clear communication strategies, which help to reduce conflict down the road.

Many years of research shows that children adapt to a divorce, but what sets them back is the degree of animosity between the parents. By working with a good mediator who facilitates authentic communication between the parties, children stand to benefit significantly long-term.

  • Mediation is Effective

Private mediation is highly effective, with a success rate of over 85%. Because participants have a much more participatory role in the resolution of the ultimate agreement, satisfaction and compliance rates are much higher for mediation than litigation as well.

  • Mediation is Less Expensive

Mediation is the most cost effective means of conflict resolution when utilizing the services of a professional. If you choose litigation, you can expect to spend considerable sums of money over a significant period of time. The costs of litigation are usually more than the value of what’s in dispute, not to mention the emotional costs of fighting. Choosing to discuss unresolved issues in a supportive, structured setting such as mediation is a wise first step in reaching a meaningful resolution.

Do you really want to spend your children’s college education account, your vacation money, and the equity in your home on arguing in court? Consider mediation as a lower-cost, lower-stress alternative to litigation.

For families looking for an affordable alternative to going to court, Conscious Divorce offers a flat-rate mediation package.

 

Issues Covered in Child Custody & Support Mediation

  • Child Custody and Co-Parenting Plans
    • Weekly schedule and place of residence
    • Holiday and vacation schedules
    • Transportation
    • Co-parenting plans, including:
      • Daily and bed time routines
      • Discipline
      • Communication strategies
      • Health care and treatment
      • Education, schoolwork, & study habits
      • Special needs
      • Extracurricular activities
      • Religion
      • Supervision/Child care
      • Relationships with other family members
      • Travel
      • Distance between homes
      • Vehicle use with older children
      • Children’s property
      • Emergency planning
  • Child Support
    • State guidelines
    • Support calculations
    • Monthly budgets/needs of the parties and children
    • Tax/dependency implications

 

Flat Fee Custody Mediation Packages

At Conscious Divorce, we strive to bring awareness into all areas of family law, including what it will cost.

With any legal issue, you have to consider your legal fees and expenses.  At Conscious Divorce, we don’t think your legal fees should be shrouded in mystery. You’ll know upfront what you’ll pay with our all-inclusive, flat-fee mediation packages, thus eliminating the anxiety of unknown, mounting legal bills.

If you would like to bypass a lengthy court case and are willing to participate in mediator-guided settlement discussions, mediation is an excellent and cost-effective choice for settling your custody case.

Since there are no issues regarding marital property division or spousal support, the paperwork associated with a parentage case is typically more streamlined when compared to a divorce case. Because of this, we offer two flat rate package options for custody mediation that are reduced in price versus our divorce mediation packages. This way, we are able to offer all the benefits of mediation to couples that just need specific assistance with negotiating an agreement around their child custody and support issues.

We have two flat-rate package options for parties mediating child custody and support issues.

  • Option 1: “BASIC” Custody Mediation Package
  • Option 2: “COMPREHENSIVE” Custody Mediation Package

 

“Basic” Custody Mediation Flat Fee Package $1,440*

We offer the “Basic” Custody Mediation Flat Fee Package as a lower cost, amicable alternative for parties that may need some extra help in ironing out the details of a child custody/support agreement and making it legal. We’ve streamlined this flat-fee package to provide the basics, which includes two 90-minute mediation sessions, phone/email support, prep work, and drafting of all Court required documents.   In an effort to keep the price reasonable, our clients are then responsible for filing documents at the Court, exchanging financial disclosure documents, and managing Court correspondence. We provide step-by-step guidance on each of these processes.

SERVICES INCLUDED:

  • Up to (2) 90 minute mediation sessions with family law attorney and mediator Michael Cotugno
  • Preparation time for each client prior to each mediation session
  • Attorney and staff time responding to telephone calls, e-mails, and questions from the clients
  • Preparation and drafting of all initial pleading documents
  • Step-by-step guidance for filing and service of all documents. (Clients are responsible for filing and service)
  • Step-by-step guidance for complying with all mandatory financial disclosure documents (Clients are responsible for sharing financial disclosure documents)
  • Preparation and drafting (including up to 1 revision) of the final agreement (judgment packet) and all required attachments
  • We guarantee that the Court will accept all documents and will make any revisions necessary to ensure so

 

“Comprehensive” Custody Mediation Flat Fee Package $2,700*

We offer the “Comprehensive” Custody Mediation Flat Fee Package as an affordable, full-service option for parties who may also need additional support and attorney guidance on issues such as child custody, support, and co-parenting issues. This option includes up to three 90-minute mediation sessions, phone/email support, prep work, drafting, and filing of all Court required documents. It also includes preparation of the financial disclosure documents and up to two revisions of the final agreement. We also manage all Court filings, service, and correspondence so you don’t have to worry about the details. This approach ensures that you are receiving the professional assistance you need to reach an equitable agreement and finalize your paternity case while staying out of Court.

SERVICES INCLUDED:

  • Up to (3) 90 minute mediation sessions with family law attorney and mediator Michael Cotugno
  • Preparation time for each client prior to each mediation session
  • Attorney and staff time responding to telephone calls, e-mails, and questions from the clients
  • Preparation and drafting of all initial pleading documents
  • Court filing and service of all initial pleading documents (excluding court filing fees)
  • Preparation and exchange of all mandatory financial disclosure documents
  • Preparation and drafting (including up to 2 revisions) of the final agreement (judgment packet) and all required attachments
  • Court filing of the judgment packet
  • We guarantee that the Court will accept all documents and will make any revisions necessary to ensure so
  • We receive and manage all Court correspondence

 

*Mediation fees do not include court fees. As of 1/1/2015 the filing fee for a Paternity case is $435 in most counties in California.  A current list of fees can be found online here.

 

What if we need more time to mediate?

We recognize that sometimes, unforeseen issues arise during mediation that need to be resolved so the parties can avoid going to court. If your issues are (or become) more complicated and cannot be concluded during the mediation sessions included in the flat-rate package, additional mediation sessions can be purchased “a la carte” as needed, at an hourly rate of $360.

 

Everyone’s Situation is Unique

While many of our divorce mediation clients take advantage of one of our flat-fee mediation packages saving thousands or even tens of thousand when compared to other options, we do recognize that a flat fee package may not be the best option for every case.

Learn more about your options, what makes the most sense for you, and how we may best support you along the way.

Whether it’s legal consulting, DIY divorce assistance, or representation, we’ll provide our best estimates on what to expect in terms of your legal fees and discuss what fee options may be most appropriate for your situation so you can make an informed decision. Contact us for more information or to schedule a consultation.

 

Learn More About Divorce Mediation with a comprehensive Initial Consultation

Schedule a comprehensive 1-hour Initial Consultation for $90 (a $360 value).

Couples have the option to attend the 1-hour consultation as a couple or they may choose to split the time into one 30-minute private consultation per individual.

Should you decide to become our client within 30 days of your initial consultation, the $90 consultation fee will be applied to your flat-fee (or retainer).