San Diego Family Mediation Center

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In Mediation Do I Have to File My Court Documents?

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One of the most common questions we get in our office is about the legal documents required for divorce. Many clients wonder if they have to fill out the divorce paperwork or file it themselves. We are a full-service, start-to-finish divorce mediation firm. That means we fill out the paperwork for you and file it with the court. Only in very rare circumstances do you ever have to go into a courtroom. The vast majority of our clients only need to come to our office for the entirety of their divorce.

What Is the Process Like?

If you begin your divorce with us, the first step is filling out the initial divorce petition. We will ask you basic questions regarding your marriage, children, and property. We will out all the paperwork and you sign it before we send it to the courthouse. Everything is done in our office and we are happy to answer any questions you have along the way.

After your petition is filed with the court, it needs to be served on the other party. We do this in our office or via mail. After the other spouse is served, your 6-month “cooling off” period begins. This means the soonest you can be divorced is six months from that date.

We continue with our mediation sessions to gather all the information we need in order to create your Marital Settlement Agreement. This is the final agreement that binds you to the decisions that you make in our office. This includes the division of property, parenting plan, and support. Once the MSA is written, we will send you a draft that you can have reviewed by an attorney if you choose. We may make changes at this time. Once all changes are approved by either side, you will come in to sign the paperwork.

After the signing, we send the paperwork to the court to be processed. This is perhaps one of the most frustrating times for our clients, as it is now out of our control. The court sometimes is able to process your agreements quickly, but more often than not, the court can take several months. We will keep tabs on the status of your case and inform you as soon as we receive the processed agreement. We then send each party a copy of the signed MSA that is stamped by the judge.

What If We Need to Make Changes After We Sign?

It is not uncommon for there to be changes as your children grow, jobs change, and requirements can change in support. If there has been a substantial change in employment, parenting time, or income, you are welcome to come in and we can amend (change) the MSA to fit your new circumstances.

Do you have any questions? Make sure to contact San Diego Family Mediation Center for details. Call us for a free consultation to get more information about the mediation process and what we can do for you!