Divorce with Dignity
"Divorce with Dignity" is a mediation service with the option of legal drafting upon request of the parties. You should choose any mediator wisely. Our mediator's training and experience is provided on our website.
When you call into the office the mediator will speak with you about the process. This is your opportunity to ask any questions. She will ask you a number of questions to assess your needs and help you decide on the services you need. Both parties will be have the opportunity to speak with the mediator on the phone before deciding to enter the process. Both parties must be in full agreement to enter the program. The program is not a substitute for legal advice. The mediator is a legal assistant and former court reporter with special training in mediation, conflict resolution, communication and parenting coordination, but she is not an attorney.
"Divorce with Dignity" is a program for parents that cannot afford to hire attorneys or choose not to hire one for personal reasons to do their legal drafting. It is not unusual for parents to proceed through divorce or paternity actions without attorneys. Many parents choose to proceed self-represented by their own choice. There are online forms that can be filled out and submitted to the court. However, parents request the additional service from us for a number of reasons. They may be intimidated by the length of the online document forms and find it hard to understand which documents are needed within the online packet. Sometimes parents do not have the time to draft lengthy dissolution documents and ask us to provide the service for them. The choice is yours to make. Decisions on drafting will depend on whether agreement is reached and your wishes on how you want to complete the process through the court system.
"Divorce with Dignity" can be adjusted to meet specific needs and parents may choose to go through the mediation only. Parents can choose to draft documents themselves, hire one attorney to draft them, or request us to draft them if full agreement is reached. "Divorce with Dignity" helps parents divorce with dignity and provides respectful intervention at the level you want. If there are complicated legal issues, this program may not be appropriate and you will be so advised as part of the initial screening process. Either party can choose to retain an attorney or end the negotiation process at any time.
"Divorce with Dignity" puts YOU in the driver's seat. However, the mediator will help you with the turns and dips in the road. She will help you make decisions on marital debts, marital assets, real estate, child support and spousal support, pensions and 401K's or other savings. She will help you organize the factual data to prepare for dissolution drafting so it can be submitted to the court properly.
The mediator will help you decide on custody language, parenting time including holiday division, parenting exchanges, travel needs, custody, education and religious decisions regarding children, make a plan for you to meet the financial and emotional needs of your children, and address any other concern parents may have. Your agreements will be drafted into a formal parenting plan that is attachable to your court documents to make the plan legally binding as part of your Judgment and Decree.
Parents are also provided with all printed materials and resources from our IMPACT Parent Education Program. Parent education requirements will be discussed with you. The court will require you to complete parent education, which we can provide for you.
This program can save thousands of dollars in litigation expense. We have offered this program since 1997 and have assisted hundreds of parents divorce with dignity. While divorce ends a love relationship; it does not have to destroy a family. With the right support, you can transition into a newly structured family and work through the pain of divorce without destroying parental relationships with your children.
What is the cost? It depends on your situation. It may require one session or it may require up to three. It rarely, if ever, requires more than three sessions. Each session is approximately 3 hours. Extended sessions prevent parents from having to drive back and forth for numerous appointments. That equates to approximately $130 per hour or approximately $65 per hour per parent when proceeding on a capped fee mediation process. The fee for drafting your dissolution documents is $450.00. The court administration will require parties to pay a court fee unless approved for court fee waiver due to poverty or financial hardship. We are not part of the court process once the documents are delivered and court fees are separate from mediation or drafting services. Payment for mediation and drafting is on a cash basis only and fees are due in full at the beginning of each session.
- 3 hours of mediation and drafting is $850 or $425 per party (1 extended session plus drafting)
- 6 hours of mediation and drafting is $1,250 or $625 per party (2 extended sessions plus drafting)
- 9 hours of mediation and drafting is $1,650 or $825 per party (3 extended sessions plus drafting)
Estimated cost for 3 hours of attorney time is $600 for just the mediation or consultation and can cost up to $1,800 for 9 hours of mediation. Attorneys usually charge the retainer fee amount for drafting which is usually around $1,500.00. However, when parties have attorneys draft their documents there will not be a court required hearing. You will need to attend a brief default hearing when proceeding without legal counsel even when you are in complete agreement and have drafted your agreement into the proper court forms. We hope this will help you with making a decision on how you want to procced.
Parenting time, custody and paternity mediation
The mediation process is much the same as with "Divorce with Dignity" only without addressing financial issues and drafting fees. We do not recommend decisions on parenting time, custody or paternity be made on financial considerations, but must be made on what is best to maintain child/parent relationships, needs and concerns. For this reason, financial issues such as child support will be negotiated with an hourly fee of $180 per hour, or $90 per hour per parent. Payment for mediation services is on a cash basis only due at the beginning of each session.
- Estimated cost is one extended session at $200 per parent ($400 total for 3 hours)
- If financial negotiation is needed it will require a second session at an hourly fee of $180 per hour with an estimated time of 2 hours or $180 per parent
IMPACT Parent Education for Separate Parenting and Divorce
Our parent education is a "virtual" online program that is approved by the Minnesota Supreme Court to meet all requirements for curriculum and online processes. Please see the full description for parent education on this website. The virtual classroom provides the convenience of online with all the benefits of access to a trained professional in a class setting. There is no need for webcams, special headsets or equipment, no complicated downloads or maneuvering of different web pages. The facilitator is with you at all times. The program requires 6 hours of online lecture in 3, 2 hour classes and some reading.
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