Our Flat Fee Divorce Mediation service is for couples needing professional help with negotiating a fair agreement.
We handle all the legal paperwork, and you stay out-of-court, saving you time, money and stress.
$3600 Flat Fee
We’ve built in a payment plan into our fee structure to help make them affordable and manageable.
The flat fee is divided into 3 payments of $1200, with first payment due at the time of hire, and second half due prior to the initial 2 hour mediation session, and the final payment due prior to submitting the finalized Judgment paperwork to the court.
*Our fees do not include Court Filing Fees. ($435 in most California Counties)
4 Hours of Mediation Time
The flat fee includes an initial 2-hour mediation session, via Zoom or in-person, and two additional 1-hour Zoom mediation sessions with Attorney / Mediator Michael Cotugno.
We Do All The Paperwork
We handle drafting and filing of all court documents, which includes the initial pleadings, financial disclosures, your settlement agreement, and all judgment documents.
Family Law Explained
The primary advantage of working with an experienced family law attorney is that they are qualified to explain how family law works in California and provide reference points for settlement purposes.
Complete Everything Online
No office or court visits needed. We’ve streamlined the process to handle most everything electronicially via email, electronic signature and Zoom, and in most cases, only one document needs to be notarized and mailed to us.
Unlimited Phone & Email
We want to make sure you have the information you need to make informed decisions, so reach out anytime. We don’t bill for time, so you don’t have to worry about getting charged for every call or email.
Easy to Follow Questionnaires
We provide straightforward questionnaires to help you both collect relevant information, and step by step guidance through out the process of document preparation and review.
Custom Support Calculations
We help you with running guideline child support calculations using court approved software, and we also provide assistance with spousal support or equalization payment amount scenarios.
Additional Services Available
If your agreement requires drafting a Joinder and/or a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) to divide a retirement account, or you need a new deed drafted, we offer these services for a discounted flat fee for existing clients.
Meet The Team
Michael C. Cotugno, Esq., Attorney/Mediator
Michael is both an attorney and mediator with over 26 years of experience in family law. After decades of litigation experience, and seeing it’s debilitating effects, Michael knew there was a better alternative. He founded Conscious Divorce to provide settlement focused support to help separating couples move on as peacefully as possible.
Janessa Cotugno M.A., Office Administrator
Janessa provides client and project management support to provide clarity and structure throughout the process so clients can focus on what matters. She also oversees business operations for Conscious Divorce.
Frequently Asked Questions
Want to learn more? Contact us to schedule a free phone consultation to discuss your situation, ask questions, and go over your options.
Will mediation work for my situation?
Mediation is a voluntary process that does require a willingness from both parties to participate with the goal of reaching a mutually fair settlement.
Mediation is designed to encourage each party to express their interests and concerns, assess unresolved issues, facilitate a dialogue over options for addressing all interests, and reach a balanced settlement in a neutral, supportive environment.
Attorney Cotugno does not act as an advocate or decision maker, but as a neutral facilitator who helps the parties focus their attention on realizing positive solutions, provides a certain level of emotional support, and assures they are well-informed regarding their rights, obligations, and options.
This approach is appropriate where there may be conflict or communication challenges, higher value assets or debts, complex situations, or where the couple would feel more comfortable being personally guided through the negotiation process.
What does the mediation process look like?
Each spouse is given several questionnaires to complete. The information is used to assess the situation, draft initial paperwork, prepare financial disclosures and to start the settlement discussion.
When all parties are ready for the initial 2 hour session, both spouses meet with the Attorney Cotugno at the same time, either in-person, or online via Zoom video conference.
During the session, Michael 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.
After the session, a draft agreement is circulated until a final version is agreed upon. If additional mediation time is needed, the flat fee includes two 1 hour follow up sessions.
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.
What topics are covered in 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
Are there other costs not included in the flat fee?
Court Filing Fees: Our flat fees do not include the court filing fees, paid directly to the court. Initial Pleading filing fees are $435 – $450 depending on county, plus electronic filing fees, which may range from $13-$25 depending on county.
Court Appearance Fees: Depending on your county, the court may automatically schedule status conferences when a case is opened. These hearings can usually be avoided or continued. The flat fee does include a continuance or appearance for the first status conference. For additional appearances, we charge a flat fee of $300 per court appearance.
QDRO Drafting & Filing Fees: If your settlement agreement requires the division of a retirement account, your plan may require a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). We offer QDRO preparation and filing for existing clients for flat fee of $500, or $750 if a Joinder is also required. QDRO court filing fees are $20 per QDRO, paid directly to the court.
Additional Mediation Sessions: If your issues are (or become) more complicated and cannot be concluded within the 4 hours of mediation time included in the flat-rate, additional mediation sessions can be purchased “a la carte” as needed at $300 per 1 hour session.
Do parties need to hire their own attorneys?
No, it is not required when working with us, but parties do have the option and may choose to obtain legal, financial, and other professional advice at any time during the process.
We consider mediation to be an more economical process of dissolution, since both parties often share the expense of one mediator, and if needed, one or both parties may retain consulting attorneys for review or advice on a limited basis.
However, keep in mind that hiring an attorney to represent you can be very expensive, particularly if they are not settlement-oriented.
If you do choose to hire an attorney, it’s typically much more cost-effective to utilize them as a consultant who will provide you with personal legal advice, as opposed to having them represent you and “take your case” out of your control.
Do I need to go to court?
By choosing to work with us, you would be settling your divorce privately, out-of-court. No court visits, no judges orders, no family law facilitator appointments.
This means you both can agree upon whatever terms you both decide are fair between the two of you and work on your own timeline, not the courts.
If in the future, situations change and you need to modify your agreement, we do assist with modification of judgments. If modifications are desired, but you don’t have an agreement worked out, we do encourage mediation as first the option before involving attorneys.
Of course, you don’t give up any of your rights by settling out of court. In other words, you are not excluded from involving the court in the future if you need an order to enforce or modify your agreement.
What if we need more mediation time?
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 4 hours of mediation time included in the flat-rate package, additional mediation sessions can be purchased “a la carte” as needed.
Additional mediation sessions are available at $300 per 1 hour session.
What if we can't reach an agreement?
Well over 95% of our mediation cases are able to reach a final agreement.
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.
How do we get started?
Contact us to schedule a free 20-30 minute consultation call with attorney/mediator Michael Cotugno to discuss your situation, answer your questions, and discuss your options.
We encourage couples to be on the call together, but can schedule individual calls if preferred. We can also provide a conference call number to dial in if you both will be calling in from different locations.
For “Mediated” divorces, Michael does request speaking with both parties (together or separately) to ensure an understanding of the mediation process before proceeding.
Once you decide you’d like to move forward, we send you a fee agreement for signature, an invoice link, and initial questionnaire to complete.
After those are received, we send you a series of questionnaires that assist us in collecting information needed to draft the paperwork or prepare for the mediation session.
During mediation (we did two sessions), my ex husband had moments of anger/adrenaline and I had moments of crying/tears, but Michael had a steady, rational way of handling us that got us back on track. No regrets, I recommend Conscious Divorce.
Michael’s diverse and unique background in human psychology and law was JUST the magic sauce and heroic action I needed. Now that the divorce is safely behind me, my ex and I enjoy a positive co-parenting relationship that could NOT have been achieved with my prior lawyer
Michael kept me calm and never let my emotions get the best of me. He guided me through the toughest of times. He was also very fair on fees and advised me of my options – and guided me from what could had been a very expensive and emotionally scarring litigation
2445 Fifth Ave Ste 330
San Diego CA 92101
Monday – Friday : 9:00 – 5:00
Saturday & Sunday: Closed
Evening and Weekend Appointments Available Upon Request
We serve ALL California counties via Zoom, email and phone. In person meetings are available at our San Diego office.