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The Gentle Divorce Mediation Process

Every case is different so our process is flexible.  We want to find a solution that works best for you and your family.  Generally the divorce mediation process with Dustin at The Gentle Divorce unfolds in the following manner: Step 1: Consultation and Scheduling Give me a call or email me for a free phone consultation. I can send you free brochures and guides  with more information as well.  Our brochures are also helpful to present the possibility of divorce mediation to your spouse if you have not done so already. When you determine that divorce mediation might work for your family, I will coordinate with you and your spouse to schedule an initial appointment to begin mediation.  You also have the option of a half hour in-person consultation to better determine if our process is right for you (costs $100). Step 2: Initial Mediation Sessions During the first or second mediation sessions, we will address many aspects of your divorce. The specific information discussed will depend from case to case. Typically by the end of the mediation sessions you will be in agreement on how to divide your assets, issues of child custody, develop a parenting plan, and what to do about child support and/or spousal support. There may be a few questions or impasses that still need to be worked out, but you will be surprised how effective mediation is in facilitating agreement. Step 3: Marital Settlement Agreement (MSA) Based on the agreements you accomplished in the first session, we will prepare a draft of your Marital Settlement Agreement. This document contains your agreements so far on asset division, child custody, child support, and/or spousal support (alimony).  See more information about Marital Settlement Agreements.  We will email (or snail mail) a copy to both you and your spouse to review and think about if there are any changes you would like to make.  You will also be able to access your MSA and other documents at anytime through our secure client portal. Step 4: Signing and Document Preparation We will meet together and read through the Marital Settlement Agreement draft and make corrections and other changes as needed. We will print out a final copy at which time you can sign the agreement. We will have the agreement notarized (no fee through our in-house notary). Step 5: Court Document Preparation The Marital Settlement Agreement takes the place of many, many family law forms that contested divorces require.  However, even with an agreement there are still a few forms that need to be filled out and filed with the court.  The Gentle Divorce can provide information and support in the process of gathering and filling out the required court forms.  During this session we will make sure that you have everything ready and prepared to file with the courts to get a final divorce decree. Step 6: Filing Court Documents and MSA When you are ready, it is easy to file the Marital Settlement Agreement and the prepared documents. Or you may prefer to wait to file and make sure your agreement will work for both you and your spouse.  Once you decide to file for divorce, you will already have all the required documents ready to do so. Once filed, a judge will review the documents and make a final divorce order based with the terms based on your Marital Settlement Agreement. Under California law, your divorce is not completely finalized until 6 months and 1 day after the service of process. Once you submit all the required documents. there is nothing you need to do during this six month period because the order will be finalized automatically six months after the service of process.
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