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.
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. Mediation sessions are held primarily via Zoom video conference, but can be held in person at our San Diego office if preferred.
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 2 hour mediation session. After the session, a draft settlement agreement is circulated between the parties for questions, comments and revisions. Any additional finalizing details are handled via email, phone and mail, but if needed, the flat fee does include two 1-hour follow up Zoom mediation sessions.
If additional mediation time is needed beyond the 4 hours that are included in the flat fee, then they may be added a la carte at $300 per hour.