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Frequently Asked Questions
What family law issues can be handled through divorce mediation?

Mediation offers couples the opportunity to discuss and negotiate all relevant family law issues privately and out-of-court including: 

  • Child Custody and Co-Parenting Plans
  • Child Support
  • Spousal Support (Alimony)
  • Division of Marital Assets and Liabilities
  • Expert Fees and Court Cost Allocation
  • Any other issues deemed important and relevant

What are the initial steps in the process?

To start, Michael answers all preliminary questions and concerns while further explaining the legal process as it relates to your unique situation.  Our goal is clear and comprehensive communication throughout the process.  All phone calls and emails are included in the flat fee so you don't have to worry about incurring additional charges for your conversations. 

Each spouse is given several questionnaires to complete. The information is used to assess the situation, draft initial paperwork and to start the settlement discussion. We provide additional guidance as needed if any questions come up while the information is being collected. 

Once all of the needed documents are gathered, the 2 hour mediation session is scheduled at our office in San Diego.

What happens during the 2 hour mediation session?

When all parties are ready, both spouses meet with the mediator, Michael Cotugno, at the same time. This is done in person at our San Diego office. If preferred, another location may be arranged or the session can be done online via video conference.

During the session, Michael helps to balance the power between the participants and creates a safe, supportive environment for both parties to fully express their perspectives and interests.

He facilitates the couple through difficult conversations with the goal of helping them reach mutual agreement on all aspects of their divorce.

This includes guiding the participants through the identification of all relevant issues and all of their mandatory financial disclosure requirements.

Using his knowledge of the law, Michael also instructs participants on the fundamentals of the relevant legal issues, and provides creative options and settlement strategies.

How is the final agreement drafted?

Most agreements can be reached in just one mediation session. Any additional finalizing details are handled via email, phone and mail, saving everyone time, money and stress.

The flat fee divorce mediation includes 1 significant revision of clarified or even renegotiated terms.

If additional revisions are needed beyond what is included, an additional fee may be applied towards the total time spent on additional revisions or renegotiated terms.

Contact us to discuss your options.
(619) 800-1801 
What is included in the Divorce Mediation Flat Fee?

This comprehensive flat-fee package includes one 2-hour mediation session, all phone/email support, prep work, and drafting of all Court required documents. This includes preparation of the financial disclosure documents and drafting of the final settlement agreement and one revision. We also manage all Court filings, service, and correspondence.

This approach ensures that you are receiving the professional assistance you need to reach an equitable agreement and finalize your divorce while staying out of Court.


  • All your questions answers regarding the process.
  • Straightforward questionnaires to assist you in gathering information.
  • All phone and email support.
  • One 2-hour mediation session with Michael Cotugno, in person or via video chat.
  • Preparation and drafting of all initial pleading documents.
  • Preparation and drafting of all mandatory financial disclosure documents.
  • Preparation and drafting of the final agreement and attachments.
  • Up to 1 revision of the final agreement.
  • We handle all Court filing and service of documents.
  • We receive and manage all Court correspondence.

How much is the Flat Fee?

Conscious Divorce offers this Flat Fee Divorce Mediation package for a reasonable $2,800 flat fee.

On average, a traditional divorce litigated with attorneys in the court system costs $40,000 per spouse! Compared to the average mediation, which ranges between $4,000-$7,000 per couple, our Flat Fee Divorce Package is a great value.

*Our flat fees do not include Court filing fees, which are to be paid directly to the Court. As of 8/1/2018, Court filing fees for divorce in California are $435.

How do we get started?

Contact us to schedule a free introductory phone call with attorney/mediator Michael Cotugno to discuss your situation and to see our services are a good fit for you.

You can do the call together, as a conference call, or each speak with Michael individually. It's your preference.

If after the initial call, you would like to meet in person, we can schedule an 1 hour consultation at our office for $90.  If you decide to move forward with any of our services, the $90 consultation fee will be credited towards your account.

Once you decide you'd like to move forward, we send you a fee agreement and payment link. After those are submitted, we send you a series of questionnaires that assist us in collecting information needed to draft the initial paperwork and prepare for the mediation session. 

Contact us to discuss your options.
(619) 800-1801 
Do parties need to hire their own attorney?

While not mandatory, parties may choose to obtain legal, financial, and other professional advice at any time during the mediation process.

All parties are encouraged to obtain a review of the final settlement agreement by independent legal counsel prior to signing the agreement. If both parties agree, attorneys may attend the mediation sessions to advise and counsel their clients, but this is generally a more expensive option (but still much cheaper than litigation).

However, keep in mind that hiring an attorney to represent you can be very expensive, particularly if they are not settlement-oriented. It’s typically much more cost-effective to utilize consulting attorneys to help guide and advise you through the process, as opposed to having them represent you and “take your case” out of your control.

Mediation is considered an economical process of dissolution, since both parties often share the expense of one mediator and then retain consulting attorneys for review or advice on a limited basis.

How long does it take to finalize a divorce?

This depends a great deal on the participants, particularly how quickly the information can be provided to the mediator for the completion of the court-mandated financial disclosures and how quickly the participants can work out an agreement.

Sometimes this happens very quickly and the final judgment can be submitted to the court in only a few short weeks from when mediation begins. 

Other times, the participants need more time to reflect on what works best for them, or they agree that an event such as the sale of the house is desired before finalizing the terms of their agreement, etc., and the process takes longer.

In mediation, if the process takes longer, it's typically because the participants need more time and not because their attorneys need more time to pile up billable hours.

Once an agreement is reached and a final judgment is signed and submitted to the court, the court typically takes 2 or more months to process the paperwork.

*Note that in California, the court cannot terminate the marital status of a couple until after 6 months from the time the case is opened with the court.  This doesn't mean that the participants and the mediator have to wait 6 months to submit the paperwork, it just means that the official date that the participants are divorced cannot be until after 6 months. 

Further details of this will be explained by the mediator during the process.

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 session included in the flat-rate package, additional mediation sessions can be purchased “a la carte” as needed.

Additional mediation sessions are available at $500 per 2 hour session.

What if can't reach an agreement?

Well over ninety percent of divorce cases in California reach an agreement and settle without going to trial. The big question is when? Does it take tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of dollars to prepare for trial, then settle right before it, or do parties take a more reasonable and rational route and commit to working through the terms of their settlement early on and save themselves all the grief and expense?

In the rare instances where an agreement is not reached in mediation, the parties always have the option to pursue whatever legal remedies they desire within the court system.

Even if there is an issue of which the participants are unwilling to compromise, they still have the option to agree upon everything else, submit a judgment on all the issues except the one that they were unable to resolve, and leave that issue for determination by the court.  

Additional Questions?

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Serving the County of San Diego.