“My spouse and I have decided to mediate our divorce. Is there any way we can control the costs of the mediation process? ”
The mediation process itself is likely to be less expensive than a process which involves court hearings and/or a full trial on disputed issues. However, even in mediation you and your spouse can significantly control costs by preparing for each session. Your mediator will provide the financial forms which CA law requires you to complete. These are called the Schedule of Assets and Debts and the Income and Expense Declaration.
If you and your spouse gather the paperwork and fill in these forms in advance, you will save time during mediation (and time is money when you are paying for a professional!) and you will also educate yourself about important issues so that you will be able to participate in the process and make decisions which will affect your future after the divorce. If you are going to be discussing custody of your children, you can gather information such as the school or sports team calendar to bring to sessions so you are prepared to effectively use the mediation time.
Judith C. Nesburn is a Family Law attorney, Mediator and Collaborative Law practitioner, practicing in Los Angeles. Her focus is on alternative means of dispute resolution in all divorce and family law matters. She can be reached at (310) 207-4400. Visit her website www.judithcnesburn.com.