Marital Settlement Agreement Attorney in Los Angeles — California — Kim Mediation and Law Center (2023)

The divorce process is never an easy thing to go through — even in states like California that don’t require fault to be placed on any one party. In many cases, the ending of a marriage results in drawn-out litigation that’s costly and stressful for everyone. This is particularly heartbreaking in instances where children are involved. However, this doesn’t have to be how your divorce plays out. It’s possible to reach a divorce agreement that accounts for everyone’s best interests, and this can be done outside of a courtroom. A marital settlement agreement lawyer in Los Angeles can help in this process.

At Kim Mediation and Law Center, we understand that litigation is the only option in some situations. Unfortunately, it’s frequently the default option for far too many people. You don’t have to let a judge you’ve never met make the most important decisions in your life. When you establish an attorney-client relationship with our law firm, we can help draft a written agreement that settles all your divorce issues and is likely to be approved by California courts. Don’t waste time and money — or your mental well-being — by jumping straight into litigation. Contact us today for a free consultation to learn all your options.

What Are Marital Settlement Agreements?

Marital settlement agreements are contracts entered into by two parties of a divorce. It is a written agreement that dictates what will happen to properties, assets, and other possessions. Issues like child support, custody, and spousal support (i.e., alimony) are typically also included. California is a no-fault divorce state, so it’s not necessary for individuals to prove who was at fault for the dissolution of their marriage. This means that even the most complex issues can be handled between two parties in a marital settlement agreement. You might also hear the terms “divorce property settlement agreement” and “property settlement agreement.” These are just different ways to say “marital settlement agreement.”

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Once two soon-to-be-former partners create a divorce agreement, it must be submitted to the courts to receive a final divorce decree. When drafted properly, the court will typically approve the agreement so everyone can move on with their lives. If simple mistakes are made or certain provisions of the contract violate statutory requirements, though, a judge may decline the marital settlement agreement. This can turn what should’ve been a straightforward process into a difficult issue involving high legal fees, extensive time in court, and an unnecessarily challenging path forward. Avoid these issues by speaking with a Los Angeles marital settlement agreement attorney at Kim Mediation and Law Center.

What Issues Can a Marital Settlement Agreement Cover?

There are times when a proposed agreement can be incredibly simple. If you have no children, few assets, and are on relatively equal grounding financially, even a divorce that ends up in court has the potential to go by quickly. Of course, this process can also reach a fast conclusion in more complex cases if a couple is able to come to terms on all issues. Regardless of whether your case is simple or elaborate, your divorce agreement may involve the following settlement types:

Child custody

Child support

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Real estate

Spousal support

Financial accounts and debt division

Retirement accounts

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These are the main issues typically covered in marital settlement agreements, but any form of community property will also need to be covered. If you can agree on these and other pressing issues, your divorce case can conclude without a judge issuing a court order you may have no control over. Even if it seems like there’s no hope coming to an agreement over some disagreements, you’d be surprised what a family law attorney in Los Angeles can do in your situation. Don’t hesitate to speak with a divorce attorney with family law experience today.

How Can a Family Law Attorney Help?

A family law attorney can help you through the divorce process in a variety of ways. If you retain your own attorney for litigation, you’ll obviously have someone fighting to secure the best outcome for you. This is rarely simple or unstressful. Fortunately, a trained attorney can also help you reach a marital settlement agreement without going through an adversarial trial. If you’ve agreed on everything already, an attorney can help ensure your agreement is valid. And if some issues still need ironing out, a legal professional trained in mediation and collaborative law can help you reach an agreement that works for everyone.

One of the best aspects of taking a cooperative approach is that your sensitive or confidential information can stay out of the public eye. Everything that happens at trial is a matter of public record. This means that — if one spouse decides to air “dirty laundry” in an attempt to get sole legal custody — that information will be available for anyone to see. This is particularly distressing since many of the things parties believe will have an effect at trial actually will not. By speaking with an attorney to get a better grasp of legal issues outside of court, it’s possible to understand exactly what the law will require during your divorce.

What About the Attorney-Client Relationship?

If you’re considering creating a written document that stipulates what happens after your divorce, you may be concerned about the traditional attorney-client relationship. After all, wouldn’t you be better off having a lawyer that’s representing your best interests? This is true in some cases, but having independent counsel isn’t always necessary. If you and your former partner have come to an agreement on important issues, you can speak to an attorney who can review your agreement, correct any legal issues, and submit your documentation to the court. In such a situation, the lawyer would merely help institute the agreement you already reached.

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This is also true when you hire a legal professional as a mediator. They can help you understand issues of law and ensure negotiations remain cooperative and cordial. Once you reach an agreement during mediation, an attorney can submit the proper paperwork. Even if you don’t agree on everything during mediation, reaching a consensus on certain issues will still simplify and expedite divorce proceedings. And if decide that you do want to seek independent legal advice, reaching out to an attorney experienced in collaborative law can help you go through the process without the most common stressors experienced by divorcing couples.

Contact a Marital Settlement Agreement Lawyer in Los Angeles Today

Even if a married couple’s divorce seems simple, straightforward, and amenable, there are several complex issues involved. If you’re not careful, your final divorce decree may look nothing like what you agreed upon. California is very stringent when it comes to these contracts — because when done improperly, parties can experience negative repercussions that last a lifetime. This is the case even if you have no children and minimal community property to divide. Fortunately, all parties involved can benefit from the help of a family law firm.

At Kim Mediation and Law Center, we understand the stress that the divorce process can place on those involved. That’s why our goal is to help simplify the process by enabling a cooperative approach to separation. Whether your divorce agreement only involves property settlements or the situation is more complex due to child support and custody issues, we can assist you in navigating tumultuous legal waters and moving on with your life. Contact us today by calling (213) 351-1000 to schedule a free consultation. Divorce is hard no matter what, but a marital settlement agreement attorney in Los Angeles can help.

FAQs

What is the cost for a mediation lawyer in California? ›

The mediator's charges are split between the parties. If the parties choose a private mediator, they will be required to pay the mediator's regular rate for all services. The market rates for private mediators can range from $200-$1,000 per hour.

How much does a mediator cost in Los Angeles? ›

The minimum fee for civil mediation is $1,800. This includes up to 1⁄2 hour of preparation time and up to 4 hours of mediation time. Every hour, or portion thereof after the first 4 hours is billed at $450 per hour.

How much does divorce mediation cost in California? ›

Mediators typically charge between $250 - $500 per hour. If you want your Mediator to draft a settlement agreement, those agreements take between 5 and 10 hours. Last, in California, the filing fee and miscellaneous costs are around $500.

What are the 5 steps of mediation for divorce? ›

5 Steps to the Mediation Process
  • Preliminary Meeting.
  • Statement of the problem.
  • Information gathering.
  • Identification of the problems.
  • INFORMATION GATHERING.
  • IDENTIFICATION OF THE PROBLEM.

Who should pay costs for mediation? ›

Most mediation companies will quote their fees per person per hour or per person per session. This is because in most cases each party will pay for their own fees for the duration of the service. It means that each party then has a vested interest in progressing matters and getting to an agreement.

Who qualifies for legal aid for mediation? ›

You may be eligible to access Legal Aid Mediation if you are receiving certain benefits (such as Universal Credit, income based JSA, income based ESA or Income Support), are on a low income, or not working and do not have savings or other financial assets.

What questions do mediators ask? ›

Some of the questions that a mediator ought to ask counsel for the parties during the mediation include the following. What are your/your client's goals for this mediation? What would help you achieve your goals? What are the obstacles to resolving the dispute?

Why is mediation cheaper than court? ›

Less Expensive: Mediation is vastly less expensive than a typical lawsuit. Employing a mediator costs significantly less than employing a lawyer, and combined with the much quicker turnaround, you'll be paying less money over a shorter period of time.

How do you start a mediation process? ›

STEP 1: Go to the office of the mediation clerk at the court. Explain your problem to the clerk. STEP 2: If mediation is possible, the clerk will assist you to fill in an application form. STEP 3: The clerk will invite you and the other party to come to a meeting to discuss an agreement to mediate.

What is the downside to divorce mediation? ›

The disadvantages of divorce mediation are:

Mediators do not give you legal advice. When you do not have an attorney, no one is looking out for your best interests. No one is advising you so that you can make the best decisions for you. Mediation is not the only method of amicable resolution of the issues in divorce.

Does California require separation before divorce? ›

Although legal separation is not required, many couples do file for separation before finalizing their divorce. In California, there is a six-month mandatory wait period after a married couple files for divorce before the court can issue an order for the dissolution of your marriage.

How long does a mediation divorce take in California? ›

How Long Does Mediation Take? Generally speaking, our clients in California spend 3 to 4 months, on average, to complete the mediation process and come to a mutual agreement.

What is the most difficult part of the mediation process? ›

The most difficult part of the mediation process is to get people to accept that mediation can be an effective way to resolve their dispute. Most disputes tend to be very personal and some people want their day in court, whatever the cost.

What are the 3 types of mediation? ›

The three main styles of mediation are evaluative, facilitative, and transformative.

What happens if your ex doesn't show up to mediation? ›

The party who skipped mediation may be held in contempt of court for violating a court order. Sanctions for violating a court order can include community service, fines, paying for the attorney fees of the other party, and even jail time. The party who skipped may have to pay for all of the mediator's fees.

Do both sides have to pay for mediation? ›

You'll each need to pay your solicitors' fees, which can be expensive. How much you'll pay at the end depends on how long it takes for you and your ex-partner to reach an agreement. Before you start your collaborative law sessions, you each have to sign a contract saying you'll try to reach an agreement.

What is the best location for the mediation? ›

Accordingly, she recommends that mediators:
  • Provide maps and directions to the location.
  • Choose a site accessible by private and public transportation.
  • Choose a site that people will perceive as safe after dark.
  • Tell parties in advance if parking is limited and provide, if possible, free parking passes.
12 Mar 2007

What is the success rate of mediation? ›

Around 75-80% of cases settle on the day of the mediation itself and another 10-15% settle shortly after. Mediation has an extremely high success rate with 86% of all cases being settled. The process allows the parties to negotiate their own settlement, giving them control of the entire process.

How do you win a case at mediation? ›

Five Keys to a Successful Mediation
  1. Attitude adjustment. This is probably the most important thing that you can do to help reach a successful conclusion in the mediation of your dispute. ...
  2. Prepare, prepare, prepare. ...
  3. State your case clearly and keep the emotion out. ...
  4. Be flexible. ...
  5. Be patient. ...
  6. Summary.

What cases are suitable for mediation? ›

Mediation is available in most non-criminal matters. However, some non-violent criminal cases, like those involving verbal harassment, often result in a successful resolution during mediation. Claims that do not involve a legal issue are also good candidates for mediation.

Do the parties have to meet in mediation? ›

WHAT IS MEDIATION? Mediation is first and foremost a non-binding procedure. This means that, even though parties have agreed to submit a dispute to mediation, they are not obliged to continue with the mediation process after the first meeting. In this sense, the parties remain always in control of a mediation.

What should you not say in mediation? ›

Don't Be Angry.

Don't raise your voice or say swear words during the process. Instead, work on regulating your own emotions. It's okay to express your emotions constructively, but too much anger during mediation can certainly get you in trouble.

What should you not say to a mediator? ›

3 Things You Should Never Say in a Mediation Opening Statement
  • 1 — “It's all your fault.” ...
  • 2 — “Here is a bunch of new information that changes the value of the case.” ...
  • 3 — “I know we demanded (offered) $x before, but we are going to have to demand more (offer less) now.”
15 Sept 2019

What can mediators not do? ›

Mediators cannot:
  • represent you in court.
  • manage your court case.
  • make a legal judgement about who is right or wrong.
  • draw up a document that each side legally must comply with.
  • create a legal document that cannot be overturned in court.
  • decide if either side has stuck to the terms of an agreement.

What are three disadvantages to mediation? ›

Cons
  • Because the mediator has no power to impose a resolution of the dispute on the parties, the parties must be willing to compromise.
  • Mediation costs money, and an unsuccessful mediation will result in additional costs of litigation. ...
  • Mediation takes time, usually anywhere from a couple of hours to a full day.

What are 3 benefits of mediation? ›

Parties who negotiate their own settlements have more control over the outcome of their dispute. Parties have an equal say in the process. There is no determination of fault, but rather, the parties reach a mutually agreeable resolution to their conflict. Preservation of Relationships.

What is better negotiation or mediation? ›

Mediation is usually viewed as superior for resolving disputes because it is consensual, relatively quick, flexible and costs little for either party involved.

Who makes the decision in mediation? ›

A Judge would give a decision after hearing the case (usually in open court), establishing the evidence that is admissible (from any evidence that is inadmissible), and determining how the law applies to the case. At mediation, each party has the opportunity to voice their point of view.

How long after mediation can you go to court? ›

Time and Cost of the Mediation Process

According to figures presented by the Bangalore Mediation Centre, however, the average mediation in India takes only two hours. Moreover, the parties are given a maximum of 60 days to resolve their disputes before reverting to the court.

How long does mediation take before court? ›

Mediation can be concluded in one session, after a number of weeks or a number of months depending on your needs. It is much more flexible than Court proceedings which can easily take six to 12 months to resolve, if not longer.

When should you not do mediation? ›

If one of the parties has a mental disability that impairs decision-making or has a substance-abuse problem, mediation is not appropriate because there is no guarantee that the person is reasoning well or understanding the choices and options.

What is the primary weakness of mediation? ›

One of the main disadvantages of mediation is a lack of formal rules, which can make it difficult for two disagreeing parties to reach a compromise.

Can mediation save a marriage? ›

The superior benefit of Mediation to Save and Stay Married is that it teaches conflict resolution, constructive communication and a deeper understanding of their own issues and conflicts. The mediation process helps them realize their own solutions to conflict.

What is the 10 year marriage rule in California? ›

California is one of a few states where you can benefit in alimony payments from staying married 10 years or longer. In this situation, the spouse earning less income retains the right to be paid alimony for as long as he or she needs, and as long as the paying spouse can pay.

What is the minimum time for divorce California? ›

By law, the divorce can't be final for at least 6 months (called a waiting period).

Is dating during separation adultery in California? ›

The only official reasons for divorce in California are incurable insanity of a spouse or irreconcilable differences. Although dating before your divorce is final is considered adultery, the courts do not consider that when deciding to grant the divorce.

How is spousal support calculated in California? ›

The guideline states that the paying spouse's support be presumptively 40% of his or her net monthly income, reduced by one-half of the receiving spouse's net monthly income. If child support is an issue, spousal support is calculated after child support is calculated.

What is a wife entitled to in a divorce in California? ›

A wife in California can be entitled to up to half of the assets in the marriage along with up to 40% of their partner's income for child support, spousal support, and primary child custody.

How much does divorce cost if both parties agree? ›

If both parties agree on all major issues, known as an uncontested divorce, you can keep the costs relatively low. If you do your own divorce papers and your divorce is amicable, costs could be under $500. Of course, there are filing fees in all states, which increase the cost.

What preparation is required before mediation? ›

Prepare a short case summary for service prior to the mediation. Give consideration to a confidential settlement statement for the mediators' use only. Identify the main documents essential to explain the case. Make a list of the strengths and weaknesses of your case and that of your opponent.

What should you think about before mediation? ›

Tips for making mediation successful
  • Focus on the your child's best interest as you make decisions.
  • Listen to the mediator and the other parent.
  • Get enough sleep the night before.
  • Set aside personal conflicts with the other parent.
  • Be courteous, calm, and professional.
  • Stay on topic and avoid talking about other issues.

What makes a good mediation? ›

Good mediators are seen as friendly, empathetic, and respectful. They listen carefully, appreciate the emotions and needs that underlie each conversation, and come across as genuinely concerned with the well-being of everyone involved.

How do I choose a mediator? ›

Six Factors to Consider When Choosing A Mediator
  1. 1 Let the Other Side Choose. ...
  2. 2 Mediator's Background. ...
  3. 3 Flexibility. ...
  4. 4 Follow Through. ...
  5. 5 Referrals, Referrals, Referrals. ...
  6. 6 Respect.
27 Sept 2019

What are the advantages and disadvantages of mediation? ›

There are numerous advantages and a few disadvantages to mediating a dispute. Advantages include: Control, Costs, Privacy, and Relationships. The primary disadvantage is that there is no certainty of resolving the matter.

Can you change an agreement after mediation? ›

Settlement: The Agreement is binding.

Assuming the case settles at mediation, clients must understand that the Mediation Settlement Agreement is a binding contract which can be enforced in a court of law, and that the parties may not later change their minds.

Do you have to stick to a mediation agreement? ›

The mediation agreement itself is not legally binding. If you both agree you can have the agreements you made into a legally binding order.

Can I skip mediation and go straight to court? ›

Do I Have to Go To Mediation Before Court? Yes, attending mediation (a MIAM, or Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting) is a required step before going to court in most cases.

How much does mediation services cost? ›

How Much Does a Mediator Cost Per Hour? The average cost to hire a private mediator that is a lawyer is between $250 – $350 per hour with average prices ranging from $300 to $400 per hour in the US for 2022. Thumbtack says, “Some private mediators charge by the hour. Typical rates are $250–$350 an hour.

How long does mediation take in California? ›

How Long Does Mediation Take? Generally speaking, our clients in California spend 3 to 4 months, on average, to complete the mediation process and come to a mutual agreement.

What is mediation fee? ›

What is Mediation Fee? The mediation fee is the amount collected by the Clerk of Court from the filing of civil cases and private complainant in criminal cases.

Is mediation free in California? ›

In this free, court-ordered mediation (also known as mandatory mediation), the parents sit down together with a mental health professional, who helps them talk through their disagreements and develop a parenting plan. Once they agree on a plan, they can settle the case.

What is a mediation package? ›

The mediation package allows users to (1) investigate the role of causal mechanisms using different types of data and statistical models, (2) explore how results change as identification assumptions are relaxed, and (3) calculate quantities of interest under alternative research designs.

What should you avoid in mediation? ›

10 Mediation Mistakes
  • Showing up without decision makers. ...
  • Failing to discuss settlement with your client before the mediation. ...
  • Moving in the wrong direction. ...
  • Springing new information on the other side. ...
  • Withholding information that could help settle the case. ...
  • Personally attacking the opposing party and counsel.

What is the difference between mediation and settlement? ›

Settlement: Settlement, usually a cost-effective alternative to trial, can be discussed by any party at any time during litigation. Mediation: The parties could negotiate a settlement without outside help, but it is common to involve a “mediator,” which is a neutral third party.

What happens at first mediation appointment? ›

The mediator will inquire about your concerns and what you anticipate are your major issue(s). You will be asked about your current living arrangements including your home, your children, and your finances. Action items for future sessions will be determined.

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