Do we NEED an agreement already to make divorce mediation work?
NO! The ONLY agreement you need is that you are both willing to sit down with me so we can work it out. I have 100% success rate with hundreds and hundreds of couples. You are no more difficult than they were.

How do we know if we are good candidates for divorce mediation?
Divorce mediation is the BEST option for almost everyone. It would be easier to say who shouldn’t do mediation;

1) People who are not honest, who are hiding assets;

2) People who are so angry they WANT to have a court fight even if it means losing everything to legal fees;

3) Borderline personality types who are so emotional they can’t rationally protect their own interests (15% of cases are high conflict cases with people like this) You can learn more about this here:

4) People who are not bright enough to understand that working cooperatively actually produces superior results for each side by cutting the lawyers out of the deal.

 

What makes you qualified to be a divorce mediator?
Other than being a family law attorney since 1996, I have a Masters in Special Education with the specialization of working with severely emotionally disturbed children. I taught children who had killed their parents in places like Manhattan Psychiatric Hospital, junior high schools in Harlem and the East Village and two similar facilities in California. I have worked with the MOST disfunctional, emotionally disturbed people in the world. The two of you are nothing compared to my old students. If I can handle them, I can help the two of you. Plus, I have an unparalleled track record. Find another lawyer who has 100% track record with every couple they have ever worked with in mediation (hundreds and hundreds). I am betting there are few if any with my record. We WILL find your bottom line so we can make a deal and get it over with.

 

How long should we expect the process to take?
Most couples are with me between 4-7.5 hours. We can do it all in one day or if you want to minimize the time we actually spend together, we can break all the work into 2 different appointments. The first appointment can take as little as 15 minutes with only one side if you just want to file the initial papers just to get the clock running (you have to wait 6 months from the time of filing and serving the Petition). Once I get a case number I can get all the forms ready for your signature. The 2nd appointment is solely for working on the Marital Settlement Agreement and the terms of your divorce (custody, support, property and debt division).

 

What is our total cost?
I have a flat fee of $4,500 for 8 hours of my time. Only a VERY few couples have ever gone over 8 hours. I can count on one hand cases that went as high as 10 hours.
In the unlikely event we go over 8 hours, you would pay $350 per hour for every hour beyond 8 hours. Each county has their own filing fee for the court. Currently San Diego County charges $395 to file the papers.
Any additional cost to the courts is beyond my fee.

 

Can couples outside of San Diego County work with you?
I have had couples fly in as far away as San Francisco just to do their mediation with me. I regularly have couples from Los Angeles, Riverside, Orange and San Bernardino Counties make the trip to Carlsbad in order to save time and money by working with me. If you live outside of San Diego County and want to work with me, make an appointment for a day that works for all of us, send in your $2,000 deposit to hold the day and I will email you COMPLETE instructions on what to file. I send you the links to download the forms and tell you exactly what boxes to check, etc. so that we have a case number to work with the day you come to work with me. We will do everything in one day and then you are done.

 

Why is mediation better than litigation?
For a complete rundown of what the differences are between litigation and mediation listen to the audio on this site or watch the video of me talking about this exact topic. If you still want to litigate after listening or watching me, get legal insurance. Don’t pay full price for legal fees ever again!

 

Are you MY lawyer or OUR lawyer?
I am a lawyer, but I am not your lawyer. I am the lawyer in the room, so I can tell you what the laws are and I tell each one of you what I would tell you if I WAS your lawyer, but I do it in a way that does not encourage fighting. Some times I will say things to people that will make them think I am against them, but I am just being honest. If I tell someone they need to go out and get a job because the free ride is over or tell someone not to be cheap with child support, and they think I am not being “warm and fuzzy” just remember that lawyers who are trying to pad their bill by giving you false expectations are NOT doing YOU a favor. They are doing THEMSELVES a favor by getting you to fight. The longer the case goes on, the more YOU lose and the more THEY win. That is the truth. I always tell people the truth, sometimes they don’t like what they hear, but that is too bad. I am not going to lie to someone. I am looking out for the best interest of your family, and sometimes that means I tell you things you don’t want to hear, but they are true.

Why is mediation better than litigation?
For a complete rundown of what the differences are between litigation and mediation listen to the audio on this site or watch the video of me talking about this exact topic. If you still want to litigate after listening or watching me, get legal insurance. Don’t pay full price for legal fees ever again!
How can I help couples avoid court and divorce lawyers when they are looking at divorce?
I have written MANY articles that would be helpful to anyone who is thinking of divorce. If you google my name, Belinda Rachman, Esq. you will find my articles on over 100 different sites, but here are a few articles you could send. There is a place to fill in their name and email and the article will be sent directly to them from you. Bless you for wanting to help them!

Divorce Does Not Have To Destroy You Emotionally and Financially this is the link to the place where you can email the article:
5 Things Divorcing Parents Should Know
How to choose the right lawyer
Why Mediation Instead Of Litigation?


Can you talk to my group about protecting couples from the adversarial system?

I have been a public speaker since 1980 and have a variety of talks I can do, of varying lengths that are informative and fun. My mission in life is to transform the way people get divorced from litigation to mediation. I am happy to speak in front of groups anywhere in Southern California. Please email me so we can make arrangements for me to do a presentation to your group.

Why do we have to do the homework before we meet you?
The State of California REQUIRES that everyone do the forms in the homework section. You can’t get a divorce in CA without doing these forms because the law requires everyone to do a complete and honest disclosure of all their assets. If we don’t know what is on the table, how can we divide it. Now you can do the Schedule of Assets and Debts together and both sign off on it if you want, but each of you must do your own Income and Expense Declaration. Do as much as you can and if you have questions we will finish it together. The reason I can charge so little is because I am not doing your homework for you. I could charge more and send someone to your house to dig through your files and put this together for you but you might as well save the money and do it yourself. If you really need that kind of personal help, I have an experienced lady who can do that for you for $50 an hour (with a 3 hour minimum).

Do you have a referral program?
Yes, as a matter of fact I do. If you send me a client who does their mediation with me, I will take you to a networking lunch where you can meet other people or if you prefer, we can have a lunch for just the two of us. Please let your friends know to tell me YOU sent them and have them give me your current phone number so we can make lunch arrangements. If you don’t want to have lunch, I will show my thanks in another way that is tailored just for you. Let’s talk.

How can I earn $750 each week by bringing couples to you?
I pay $250 for the day if you bring non English speaking couples to me and stay to do the translation. I want to make sure that everyone has access to peaceful divorce but I don’t speak anything other than English (and enough French to feed myself and get around). If you speak another language, you should put the word out about my services and let them know YOU can do the translation! I have 3 slots a week. You could earn $750 a week on a part time basis if you brought me 3 couples a week!