Divorce Paperwork Assistance
This is a comprehensive and affordable option for couples who can work out their agreement on their own, but just need some guidance and help with the paperwork.
We take care of all the documents, and you get all of your questions answered by an experienced family law attorney.
$2400 Flat Fee
To keep the fees affordable and manageable, we’ve built in a payment plan into our fee structure.
The flat fee is divided into 2 payments of $1200, with first half due at the time of hire, and second half due prior to submitting the finalized Judgment paperwork to the court.
*Our fees do not include Court Filing Fees. ($435 in most California Counties)
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.
We Do All The Paperwork
We handle drafting and filing of all court documents, including 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 sigature and Zoom. In most cases, only one document needs to be notarized and mailed to us.
1 Hour Zoom with Attorney
However you’d like to use it, a 1 hour Zoom vido session with Attorney Cotugno is included in the flat fee so you can review your draft agreement, ask legal questions, and discuss your options.
We provide straightforward questionnaires, resource guides and checklists to help you both collect relevant financial information and negotiate your terms.
Custom Support Calculations
We help you with running guideline child support calculations using court approved software. 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.
Is the "Divorce Paperwork" service right for my situation?
We offer this service to separating couples who are able to develop a divorce agreement on their own, but who still want to make sure that everything is handled properly and that they have an adequate understanding of the process before finalizing the divorce.
We casually refer to this option as the “Kitchen Table Divorce” to convey the concept of sitting together at the kitchen table to discuss and decide the terms of your agreement together.
This approach is appropriate when there is little or no conflict, few assets or debts, no complex issues, and both parties are comfortable negotiating for themselves.
How is this different than mediation?
This service is not mediation since the couple will not be meeting with a neutral mediator to assist them in negotiating ther terms of their agreement.
Of course, if there are questions along the way, or you need help understanding the law around a topic, we’re here to help answer those so you both can make informed decisions.
If it turns out that at some point in the process that mediation help is needed, then we can shift into that option at anytime.
We encourage couples that are unsure if they can work out the terms on their own from the start to opt for the Mediation service at the beginning.
Is this the same as an uncontested divorce?
Spouses that are successful doing their own divorce are almost always in agreement, thus they are doing an “uncontested divorce”.
In an uncontested divorce, the spouses agree on everything and do not need the court to divide assets or make determinations about spousal or child support or custody.
In general, an uncontested divorce will proceed through the system more quickly, be much less complicated, and less of a financial burden.
How long does it take to finalize the divorce?
This depends a great deal on the participants, and particularly how soon their questionnaire information can be provided to the us, and how quickly the participants can work out an agreement.
Sometimes this happens very quickly and the final judgment paperwork can be submitted to the court as early as 30 days after opening the case with the court.
Other times, the participants need more time to reflect on what works best for them, or several mediation sessions are needed to work out more complex situations.
For “Paperwork only” divorces, the turn around time for your draft paperwork is typically 1 week after we receive your questionnaires. For “Mediation” divorces we can usually schedule the initial 2 hour mediation session as early as 1 week from receipt of questionnaires.
Every case is different, but on average, “Paperwork only” divorce judgments are typically submitted within 1-3 months, and “Mediation” divorce judgments are submitted within 3-5 months.
Once an agreement is reached and a final judgment is signed and submitted to the court, the court typically takes 1-3 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 and the Respondent is “served”.
This doesn’t mean that the you have to wait 6 months to submit the judgment paperwork, it just means that the official date that the you are divorced cannot be until after 6 months.
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.
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.
What if we can't work out our agreement on our own?
If it turns out that at some point in the process that mediation help is needed, then we can shift into the “Divorce Mediation” option at anytime. The additional payment of $1200 would include up to 4 hours of mediation time.
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.
Michael did an amazing job creating a structure and environment that allowed my ex-wife and I to move-on with our lives peacefully with dignity.
If you are looking for an equitable, peaceful resolution to your divorce, then I couldn’t recommend anyone better than Michael Cotugno!
I am very grateful that he guided both myself and my former husband through this difficult, sad, and scary process.
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.