I can represent clients as an attorney or mediator. When I represent a single client as an attorney I charge an hourly rate and retainer fee like any other family law attorney. When I serve as a neutral mediator in divorce I charge a flat fee at the time of service. I can’t serve as a party’s attorney and mediator; I can only serve as one or the other in a divorce.
Attorney Hourly Rate
When I represent clients as an attorney in a Roseville or Sacramento divorce, child custody, child support, or any other area of family law I charge an hourly rate and a retainer fee. My current hourly rate is $300 per hour.
Attorney Retainer Fee
A retainer fee is a refundable deposit you place with the lawyer. The lawyer holds this retainer fee in a trust account and uses the funds to pay their invoices as they work on your case. For example, if you hire an attorney for $300 per hour and the attorney charges an initial retainer fee of $3,000, and the attorney later spends 5 hours working on your case and sends you an invoice for $1,500 (5 hours x $300 = $1,500), the attorney will later subtract $1,500 from the retainer fee held in the trust account, leaving the refundable balance in the client trust account at $1,500. If the matter is then concluded without additional work the attorney will cut you a check for the remaining $1,500 held in the trust account.
Flat Fee Document Preparation
Some clients can’t afford to hire an attorney. At the same time, these self-represented individuals need help preparing Judicial Council forms and require procedural guidance. To help these individuals, I offer flat-fee document preparation and coaching; otherwise known as ‘ghostwriting.’ For a flat fee payable by credit card I prepare the summons, petition for dissolution, schedule of assets and debts, and other required forms. Once prepared, I help the client understand what they need to do next to complete their divorce.
- No Retainer Fee (Pay as you go per session)
- Flat Fee Options
My role in mediation is very different than my role as one party’s attorney. When I represent a client as their attorney and charge an hourly rate I work solely in my client’s interest. I seek every advantage for my client and secure the best outcome I can in the divorce. In contrast, my role in mediation is to be neutral; not represent any one party, but rather help the parties come to negotiated settlements outside of court and formalize those agreements in legal forms to be filed with the court.
First Mediation Consultation: $200
The first meeting between the parties and myself is the initial consultation for which I charge $200 at the time of service. During the consultation, we will review the process of mediation and sign the mediation agreement if both parties wish to pursue mediation.
Later Mediation Sessions: $300 Per Hour
Several mediation sessions may be required to secure agreements on all aspects of dissolution of marriage, support, and custody. During these meditation sessions we will work on agreements with respect to:
- Property & Debt Division
- Spousal Support
- Child Support
- Parenting Plan Agreements
How Much Will Mediation Cost?
The total cost of mediation will depend upon the parties and facts of the case. Parties with greater conflict will naturally take more time to come to agreements. Likewise, parties with substantial assets may take several sessions to finalize their property division. In addition to the hourly cost of mediation, there is a flat fee charged for document preparation which is detailed below.
Some clients want a flat fee option for mediation or document preparation.
$1,800 Document Preparation – No Mediation
If you and your spouse don’t require mediation, have come to agreements on all areas of your divorce, and need help completing the legal documents for an uncontested divorce, I offer my flat fee schedule for document preparation that also applies to my regular mediation clients:
- $300 – Divorce Petition
- $200 – Financial Disclosure
- $800 – Marital Settlement Agreement
- $500 – Final Judgment Packet
$3,000 Flat Fee Mediation
Many clients want the certainty of knowing how much their mediation will cost. I offer a flat fee mediation package that includes the initial consultation, up to 5 hours of mediation, and the completion of the divorce petition, financial disclosures, marital settlement agreement, and final judgment packet. (Court filing fees excluded).