The idea of getting an online California divorce may seem a bit unusual but it’s  time that we take advantage of  technology to make what can be a long drawn-out adversarial process much easier, faster and less expensive. Using an attorney who is also an experienced divorce mediator helps you make decisions creating separate households that end up with a better outcome for the whole family.

What is Mediation?

Mediation is the art of helping people who are in disagreement to come to an agreement that works for them without judging the outcome.
It’s advantages include:

  • Lowering stress
  • Avoiding time off for court hearings
  • Reducing legal fees
  • Working jointly toward a solution even if you’re “too far apart” or “unreasonable”
  • Allowing for creative solutions the court can’t order
  • Having an opportunity to really express your needs and hear the other parties’ in a neutral environment (…not while in the middle of fighting with each other)
  • What is discussed in mediation is completely confidential and can’t be used in court
  • You can still meet with financial advisors and consulting attorneys if you need additional information to help with your decision-making
  • You’re not under pressure to come to an agreement fast (unless you both want to). You can meet in bite-sized chunks of time at your own pace so you have a chance to think about different solutions before committing to any of them

Mediation is not just splitting everything down the middle.

Examples of creative solutions I’ve helped with include lowering the tension involved when children go from house to house by having the receiving parent pick the child up from school (without the other parent present) or meeting in a public location where arguments are less likely to occur or…

Spouses agreeing to creative support arrangements that take into account each parties’ tax situation and maximize the money they end up with while reducing the tax consequences.

The possibilities are limitless.

All mediation providers are not the same. With The Virtual Divorce TM:

  • You meet with your Attorney-Mediator during convenient evening or weekend hours
  • You don’t even have to be in the same room together. Meet online from the comfort of your sofa, office, home or car
  • The Virtual Divorce TM takes care of filling out and filing all your legal forms with the Court
  • You are in charge of your fees. You can buy a discounted package of sessions or pay by the hour. As much as I’d like to…I can’t guarantee how much it will cost because the extent of your disagreement will ultimately determine your costs. I am highly experienced and my primary goal is to lower the stress of divorce and that includes helping you keep your fees as low as possible
  • Click here for a FREE 15 minute Divorce Strategy Session to see if The Virtual Divorce TM is right for your family
Why use a Mediator?

Often divorcing couples just assume they have to each hire their own attorneys to get a divorce, especially if they disagree. There is really a continuum of services available to you, from going through the entire process alone to fighting tooth-and-nail through court with your own attorneys. Another choice is mediating with an Attorney-Mediator.

If you and your spouse disagree and go it alone you get to figure out how to do all of these tasks…perfectly:

  • Which legal forms to file and where to get them
  • How to fill them out (please don’t use your friends and families as your advisors!)
  • Where to file them
  • Know the special rules for your County
  • Get a court hearing about the issues you disagree about
  • Serve your spouse with your legal forms
  • REPEAT?: Take time to go to your court hearing(s) (up to 4 hours, sometimes more)
  • Present your issues in court  to the Judge (and you are expected to know how to conduct yourself in court with the skill of an attorney)
  • Write up the court Order and get it signed by the judge and filed with the court
  • Serve a copy of the Order on your spouse
  • Ask for and go to a court Trial where the Judge makes orders that have an effect on the rest of your life and over which you have no control
  • OR if you finally agree, determine which forms to fill out to finish your case, fill them out properly and file them with the court

 

If you and your spouse disagree and both hire attorneys you get to:

  • Meet with the attorney in their office
  • Pay a large retainer fee
  • REPEAT: Take time to go to court hearings and Settlement Conferences (up to 4 hours, sometimes more)
  • REPEAT: Communicate with your attorney about the progress you’re making or not making
  • REPEAT: Receive a monthly bill
  • REPEAT: “Refresh” your retainer
  • Go to a court Trial where the Judge makes orders that have an effect on the rest of your life and over which you have no control

 

If you and your spouse disagree and both hire an Attorney-Mediator, you:

  • Work with a trusted legal partner whose primary goal is to help you come up with an agreement and finish your case in a way that you are both happy with, even though it might seem impossible to agree.

 

Even better, with The Virtual Divorce TM mediation:

  • I am committed to reducing the inherent stress associated with getting a divorce
  • You meet with your Attorney-Mediator during convenient evening or weekend hours
  • You don’t even have to be in the same room together. Meet online from the comfort of your sofa, office, home or car
  • The Virtual Divorce TM takes care of filling out and filing all your legal forms with the Court
  • You are in charge of your fees. You can buy a discounted package of sessions or pay by the hour. As much as I’d like to…I can’t guarantee how much it will cost because the extent of your disagreement will ultimately determine your costs. My primary goal is to lower the stress of divorce and that includes helping you keep your fees as low as possible
  • Click here for a FREE 15 minute Divorce Strategy Session to see if The Virtual Divorce TM is right for your family
What if we’re mediating with you and decide we can’t agree?

Many divorcing couples think it’s not worth it to try mediating because one of the reasons their relationship is falling apart is because they didn’t agree while they were together. That seems logical but the difference with divorce mediation is that a neutral 3rd party is present to help facilitate a productive discussion with people who don’t agree…but want to.  It’s not therapy but it is a safe space to communicate your needs with each other and come up with creative solutions for your unique family while being educated about your legal rights by an expert Attorney-Mediator.

If you do decide after mediating that you don’t think you can, or don’t want to, agree we can either provide a different Attorney-Mediator or you can file the legal forms you need to request a Trial date with the Court. There are only 1 to 2 forms to file to ask for a Trial date (depending on the County) but the process is the antithesis of mediation.

  • As in… STRESSFUL.
  • The Court will usually require you to participate in mandatory settlement conference(s) before you can set a Trial date.  TIME-CONSUMING.
  • You will  have to be fully prepared for the Trial to convince the Judge to rule your way. The Judge doesn’t investigate issues or assets for you. And it’s not you sharing your thoughts with the Judge about what you think is fair or unfair. It is you coming to court with documentation of the facts and law that support your position. SPECIALIZED TRAINING.
  • You will need to present the facts and law in a way that is organized and effective. The training an attorney undergoes to do this is why divorces can be incredibly expensive. You may need to hire one. EXPENSIVE.

If you are committed to agreeing with each other we will do everything in our power to help you come up with a creative and unique solution for your family.

Where do I go to meet with you?

The great news is that I offer an innovative service where we meet virtually, either by phone for coaching or using zoom (similar to Skype) for mediations. You don’t have to come into an office at all. You can meet from the convenience of your home, office, car, or wherever you have access to a phone, tablet, laptop or computer. Hours are convenient, too, so you don’t have to take time during 9-5 work hours to meet.

See how easy it is to join a zoom meeting. Use your smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer. Nothing to download!

Can you run support calculations?

Support calculations are my specialty! When I first started my career with the court 16 years ago, running support calculations was my primary area of expertise. I continue to run them while incorporating all of the other elements of a divorce into my skill set. I run calculations using DissoMasterTM or the Department of Child Support Service’s calculator depending on your needs.  With The Virtual DivorceTM we work together online so you can watch as the calculations are being run. This is especially useful when we want to run the calculations while varying different factors to see how changing the variables changes the calculated support amount.

It is a legal requirement that a support calculation be attached to divorce judgments that include a child support order.

Do you have experience helping parents with custody and parenting timeshare schedules?

I have extensive experience helping parents to create schedules that work and include features that help visits and exchanges run as smoothly as possible for everyone, but especially for your child. I’ve been a Court attorney mediating custody and parenting time disagreements (as well as all the other disagreements associated with divorces, legal separations and parentage cases) for over 16 years. Part of my training has included “ages and stages” of children and what works best for them at different times in their lives. If a case is more complex (one parent lives out of the country or children are acting out in unhealthy ways) I will incorporate, with your permission, the assistance of a therapist who works especially with children whose parents are separating.

Are you available on evenings and weekends?

I am! I’m ready to help you during evenings and weekends that work for your schedule so you can reduce the stress of your divorce a little by not having to take time from your 9-5 workday to get the coaching or mediation services you need. Click here for your FREE 15-minute Divorce Strategy Session to learn how The Virtual DivorceTM can help.

Where do I go to meet with you?

The great news is that I offer an innovative service where we meet virtually, either by phone for coaching or using zoom (similar to Skype) for mediations. You don’t have to come into an office at all. You can meet from the convenience of your home, office, car, or wherever you have access to a phone, tablet, laptop or computer. Hours are convenient, too, so you don’t have to take time during 9-5 work hours to meet.

See how easy it is to join a zoom meeting. Use your smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer. Nothing to download!

Why don’t I just meet with an attorney near me?

Meeting with a nearby attorney is certainly one option.

The beauty of The Virtual DivorceTM is that you don’t have to go anywhere because we meet online during evenings and weekends that are convenient for you. You and your spouse don’t even have to be in the same room with each other. That convenience coupled with my 16 years of experience working for the California court system as an attorney assures you a lower stress, high-quality experience that most attorneys can’t provide.

Click here for your FREE 15-minute Divorce Strategy Session to learn how The Virtual DivorceTM can help.

If you’re an attorney, why would you refer us to other attorneys or financial professionals while we’re mediating?

Sometimes a family’s situation has complicated legal or financial issues, like a family business, separate property that has been “mixed” with community property over the years the parties were married, or children who are exhibiting behaviors that indicate they aren’t taking their parent’s separation well. During the mediation process it is smart to be educated about these situations separately, and by experts in those particular areas, so that when you are discussing them together you understand what rights you have and what rights you may be freely (not inadvertantly) giving away. These consultations are always helpful but as an experienced family law attorney-mediator I will highlight issues that need this extra attention, if any. With mediation, however, you are always in control of the decisions you make.

What is the additional $435 we each have to pay to get our divorce started?

$435 (a little more in 4 counties) is the cost to file to start, or respond to, a Divorce or Parentage case with the Court. It is not a fee we keep. It’s passed directly through to the Court.

What if we’re mediating with you and decide we can’t agree?

Many divorcing couples think it’s not worth it to try mediating because one of the reasons their relationship is falling apart is because they didn’t agree while they were together. That seems logical but the difference with divorce mediation is that a neutral 3rd party is present to help facilitate a productive discussion with people who don’t agree…but want to.  It’s not therapy but it is a safe space to communicate your needs with each other and come up with creative solutions for your unique family while being educated about your legal rights by an expert Attorney-Mediator.

If you do decide after mediating that you don’t think you can, or don’t want to, agree we can either provide a different Attorney-Mediator or you can file the legal forms you need to request a Trial date with the Court. There are only 1 to 2 forms to file to ask for a Trial date (depending on the County) but the process is the antithesis of mediation.

  • As in… STRESSFUL.
  • The Court will usually require you to participate in mandatory settlement conference(s) before you can set a Trial date.  TIME-CONSUMING.
  • You will  have to be fully prepared for the Trial to convince the Judge to rule your way. The Judge doesn’t investigate issues or assets for you. And it’s not you sharing your thoughts with the Judge about what you think is fair or unfair. It is you coming to court with documentation of the facts and law that support your position. SPECIALIZED TRAINING.
  • You will need to present the facts and law in a way that is organized and effective. The training an attorney undergoes to do this is why divorces can be incredibly expensive. You may need to hire one. EXPENSIVE.

If you are committed to agreeing with each other we will do everything in our power to help you come up with a creative and unique solution for your family.

Why do your prices not necessarily cover the cost to finish our divorce?

For most couples my packages will easily cover the cost to mediate and complete all the forms necessary to finish your case. I would love to be able to give a hard and fast fixed price to finish a divorce case and I pride myself on working with you to provide a service that’s as convenient and cost-effective as possible. If you and your spouse truly own or owe nothing, don’t have children together and agree to divorce I am going to be able to recommend a price that’s as close to “guaranteed” as possible.  For everyone else I can’t because…

  • Many people come into the mediation thinking that they don’t need orders about retirement plans or other things they own or owe until I educate them about possible risks down the road. Then they decide that they’d rather invest in a comprehensive divorce agreement now to prevent future complications.
  • I’m not in control of whether you cooperate with each other and me.
  • I do everything in my power to help you craft a creative and unique agreement for your family but, ultimately, I can’t force you to agree with each other. If you don’t agree and choose to go to trial, the sky’s the limit with respect to costs and possible attorney fees.

Any or all of these factors can cause costs to increase. If you are committed to coming to agreement, I am committed to keeping your costs as low as possible.

Are you available on evenings and weekends?

I am! I’m ready to help you during evenings and weekends that work for your schedule so you can reduce the stress of your divorce a little by not having to take time from your 9-5 workday to get the coaching or mediation services you need. Click here for your FREE 15-minute Divorce Strategy Session to learn how The Virtual DivorceTM can help.

Why don’t I just meet with an attorney near me?

Meeting with a nearby attorney is certainly one option.

The beauty of The Virtual DivorceTM is that you don’t have to go anywhere because we meet online during evenings and weekends that are convenient for you. You and your spouse don’t even have to be in the same room with each other. That convenience coupled with my 16 years of experience working for the California court system as an attorney assures you a lower stress, high-quality experience that most attorneys can’t provide.

Click here for your FREE 15-minute Divorce Strategy Session to learn how The Virtual DivorceTM can help.

How do you conduct online mediations?

We use a service called zoom. It’s similar to Skype but better for our (and your) purposes.

See how easy it is to join a zoom meeting. Use your smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer. I will send you a link to join and there’s nothing to download!

How do you conduct coaching sessions?

Coaching sessions are normally conducted by telephone. If we are running support calculations you may want to have a zoom session (similar to Skype) with us so you can see the calculations as they are run and we can make changes on the fly so you can see multiple scenarios. If you’d rather not have a zoom session we can create support calculations, email them to you and go over them on the phone. Whatever’s best for you!

See how easy it is to join a zoom meeting. Use your smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer. I will send you a link to join and there’s nothing to download!

What if I don’t know how to set up zoom on my computer?

Using zoom couldn’t be easier. You only need a smartphone, tablet, laptop or computer with a camera and internet connection.  You will receive an email from us with a link to your meeting. There’s nothing to download. Just click the link I send you and enter the virtual mediation!

For more login options, click here.

When mediating with you can I just use zoom (online videoconferencing) on my smartphone?

Technically you can but we will only do this with our 1-on-1 coaching sessions, not mediation sessions, because:

  • If we are running support calculations the calculations will be too small for you to see.
  • It’s best if both parties (and I) can see each others’ faces. It gives important and sometimes subtle feedback about areas of agreement and disagreement. Voice accounts for (at most) 1/3 of all communication.
  • People pay better attention to those whom they can see.
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