The Amicable Divorce
Mediation and legal drafting alternatives for individuals that want to proceed without limited attorney or court involvement.
Many spouses with or without children cannot afford to hire attorneys in order to go through a divorce or dissolution of marriage process. Amicable divorces are far from uncommon. Our services can help you make decisions to resolve your marriage amicably. We can, if you choose, draft your dissolution documents as well. We will assist you in gathering the factual information you will need to proceed with an amicable divorce.
Both parties must be in agreement to proceed with an uncontested divorce. If you are not in agreement, you can enter a mediation process to resolve concerns and issues and still continue with an amicable uncontested divorce once issues are resolved with the assistance of a mediator. The mediator will discuss with each party which way is the least adversarial way to proceed that will meet the needs and address the concerns of both parties. If there is a history of domestic violence in the past, or if you are afraid of your spouse, please inform the mediator during the intake process.
Many married couples wanting to divorce proceed without attorneys. It is not unusual, particularly when litigation costs and retainer fees to hire an attorney is beyond their financial means. Oftentimes, parties to a divorce feel that hiring attorneys may complicate their situation and make it more adversarial than it need be. The legal process is an adversarial process based on the laws. Dissolution of marriage, particularly where children are involved, involve emotional hurts and difficult relationship dynamics that the legal system is not designed to address.
Mediation can assist with bringing peace to some of the relational dynamics between spouses and parents and help them make the needed child-centered decisions they must make and help them organize and prepare their factual information needed to complete their divorce documents. The parties can decide on a mediation process only and draft their own online dissolution documents, hire an attorney to complete their dissolution documents, or we can complete the dissolution documents for them. Divorces that involve children require parents to attend a parent education program that addresses co-parenting and legal processes and terminology. We provide to parents our court approved online parent education program. It is suggested that parents attend this before beginning their mediation process. It provides a volume of necessary information that will help parents understand the legal processes and prepare them for the challenges of raising children in separate households. This is an important program even with the most amicable parents, and all courts will require attendance of one of their court approved programs.
Please inform the mediator if there is any history of domestic violence or safety issues. Please inform her if there is any pending bankruptcy action or family busines that may cause complications. If you will be splitting a pension or other retirement assets, please check with your plan administrator and/or financial institution regarding the possible need for a QDRO and whether the institution or plan administrator provides that service as part of your benefits. We will not draft QDRO's.
We can draft your dissolution documents. Cost for drafting dissolution documents is $500.00.
What Does the Program Provide?
- Helping you understand and organize what information is needed to make informed decisions
- Help you make decisions on marital debts and asset divison
- Help you make decisions on custody arrangements and parenting time
- Draft a formal parenting plan addressing parenting time, holidays, vacations, transportation, exchanges, sharing of child related information, education and religious decisions, extracurricular activities for children, and safety issues
- Work the child support calculator with you and negotiate child support within accepted court parameters
- Help you make decisions on whether there is a need for permanent or temporary spousal maintenance
- Discuss parent education requirements
- Discuss dissolution form drafting options
- It does not include drafting of QDRO's for splitting pensions or other retirement savings unless the plan administration can provide us with a form
- Drafting of dissolution documents - legal drafting services - $500 for completion of the dissolution packet (The Court will require a filing fee from the parties. An In Forma Pauperis form will be provided if one or both parties are low income. (The decision whether to waive court fees under in forma pauperis (proving the basis that the parties are not able to afford the court's filing fee) will be made by the judge assigned to review of your dissolution.)
Mediation Services - Parenting Time, Custody, and Paternity:
Most custody, paternity, and parenting time issues can be resolved through mediation. Most issues regarding co-parenting conflict do not involve legal issues that the court can address, but rather involves the working relationships between two parents.
Conflict regarding children are usually created by the inability of parents to communicate and manage the challenges of scheduling between the two busy households in which their children now reside. A Formal Parenting Plan addressing the co-parenting responsiblities of the parents is a helpful tool in keeping parents out of the courtroom for post-decree or post-litigation issues.
When parents receive the coaching services of a mediator trained and skilled in parenting time coordination, dynamic improvements can be made by the parents without the assistance of courts and attorneys. Parents can be empowered by the mediation process to address future conflicts that often arise in raising children between separate households without further intervention services if a Formal Parenting Plan is put into place.
Custody can be very adversarial, and if it involves extended litigation, it usually destroys the working dynamics between parents. Mediation can help restore balance after litigation when future issues arise and parents are not able to work together to resolve them without third-party assistance.
While many custody litigation is resolvable through mediation, much depends upon the willingness of the parents to work together to place the needs of the children as the first priority. If there is a history of domestic violence or child abuse, mediation may not be appropriate. Please inform the mediator during the intake process if there are any concerns that prevent a safety risk to you or your children.
Fees for Services:
- Extended sessions: $200 per parent per 3 hour extended session. (Extended sessions are time efficient and cost effective.)
- Hourly Fees: $100 per parent per hour (fees can be agreed upon on an income percentage between the parents if one parent is indigent and unable to pay for mediation.)
- Drafting services for dissolution documents - $500.00
Extended sessions avoids the need for repeated scheduling for the convenience of our clients.
Payment Policy: Payment is due at the time of service. We do not accept credit cards for mediation or drafting and we do not accept checks.
Mediation Policy: Only the parties are allowed in the mediation process unless otherwise agreed to between the parties and pre-arranged with the mediator. No children are allowed to be present.
Post-Decree Mediation or Mediation Not Involving Children:
Mediation fees as stated above are available.