California Divorce Mediation Explained

California Divorce Mediation Explained

Tim: Today we’re here with Lisa Scholz who is a mediator.

And I want to get these videos out to folks with there’s a big misunderstanding about what mediators do when it’s in regards to family law.

So we wanted to get some information out there so we can kind of pull the curtain back on what mediation is in regards to and how it works with Family Law and Divorces specifically.

So Lisa Scholz is a Mediator/Divorce Coach. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about that does? And what mediation is?

And just kind of introduce yourself and your company and what you can do folks.

Lisa Scholz: Okay, so I’m a private non-attorney mediator. I know a lot of people know attorneys that also do mediation. And this is kind of a completely different perspective.

I have a practice where I help people through with their Divorce process. They need to have their legal advice from somewhere else that doesn’t come from me.

But I work on the communication skills. I work on coming to an agreement that works best for their family.

And that’s the most important to me is that it fits what they need as a family especially if there’s kids involved.

Tim: So regarding kids and family and just overall decision making mediation as opposed to litigation long term especially if kids are involved–

Lisa Scholz: Yes.

Tim: …this is going to be beneficial because they’re getting a Divorce but they’re still going to see each other on custody exchanges.

Lisa Scholz: The relationship needs to stay intact.

Tim: Yes.

Lisa Scholz: I mean you may not like your partner, you may not get along well enough to live together anymore but when you have children involved that relationship needs to be where you have those communication skills.

And you were able to salvage whatever relationship you had left so that your children are not the collateral damage.

Tim: Right. So tell us a little bit more about you specifically and your background.

Lisa Scholz: Okay.

Tim: …regarding how did you get into mediation. How does this come about?

Lisa Scholz: I went through Divorce as well several years ago. And was like most of the public that I’ve talked to, I didn’t know what mediation was.

I heard that I was supposed to go mediation before we had a hearing date. My ex-husband was not interested in participating in that.

That was something he wasn’t interested in. And I looked further into it. I asked a lot of questions.

I was getting ready to go back to school to get a Graduate Degree. And decided that was something I wanted to focus on.

It was Mediation in Complex Resolution. So I actually received my Masters in that specialty in Psychology.

So I come from a completely different perspective, a different background than attorney mediators do. I don’t have that litigation mindset.

I want a peaceful process. And it is completely in the hands of the parties of the clients.

This is their life which the decisions they make about their family should come from them and not from anyone else.

So more of a facilitator trying to ask those important questions that make them thinks about what’s the most important all the time.

Tim: Got you.  Now you brought up education. I want to touch on that because I looked in to offering mediation services because as Legal Document Preparation Service we have limitations.

Lisa: Right.

Tim: So we don’t give legal advice. We don’t go to court for people and represent them in court, not in that fashion.

We’re just here to fill out the paperwork properly, correctly and give that professional service. And sometimes even though people have come to us and they think they have all their agreements, something happens.

Lisa: Right.

Tim: And they have trouble coming to agreements usually about money or something like that. And we didn’t offer mediation services, so, I actually looked into becoming a mediator as in additional service.

And what I found was there’s no real governing board. There’s not any real way of getting certified.

Lisa: Right.

Tim: I mean I can call myself a mediator today with zero training.

Lisa: And a lot of people do that.

Tim: Yes.

Lisa: There are lots of trainings available. They’re very cursory. They just kind of scratch the surface.

And it’s more of ‘Okay, you kind of have an idea of what it’s like. Good luck!’ They kind of throw you out there.

My educational background was much more intense. It involved cultural differences, differences within, different family backgrounds I mean it came from every angle that you can think of.

And then my work in the court system helps me not only say, ‘Hey, this is a great option for your family to do this without having to deal with attorneys, without having to go through the court system.’ because this is what I know about what happens to families in the court systems because I’ve been there.

And I can continue to work there. But my goal is to steal people away from that.

Tim: Right.

Lisa: Because it’s just not a happy ending 99% of the time.

Tim: Sure. And so education is important if someone is looking for a mediator. You have to really be careful and find out what their background is. And make sure it’s going to be a suitable—

Lisa: Well, like you said anybody can say, ‘Hey, I took a two week course of Mediation. And now I’m a mediator.’

And that’s not, and the attorney mediators, a lot of times that’s what they do. And say ‘Now I offer mediation services.’

They’re still coming from a litigation background.

Tim: Right.

Lisa: Where it’s a win loose–

Tim: About the law.

Lisa: We got the laws. The only thing that matters you need, we need, they’ll even take one of the parties side and say, ‘You really shouldn’t be agreeing to this.’

Tim: Really?

Lisa: It’s not on your interest. And they forget that their job is to help the people come together and communicate and not pissed. It’s just this automatic thing.

Tim: It’s just that’s how their brain works.

Lisa: It’s how their brain works. That’s how they were trained in law school.

Tim: Right.

Lisa: And that’s what happened. So—

Tim: Okay. So mediation, if you could put it into a sentence or two, how would you explain what mediation is. I’m sure you get the question all the time.

People asking me what mediation is or some people think that we are mediators.

Lisa: Okay.

Tim: So what is mediation in regards to Family Law?

Lisa: Mediation has existed and it’s so interesting to me because it has existed for thousands of years in many different cultures. It is a new concept to us as Americans in the West because we are so individualized.

And we like to win and we like to get a cup and is very competitive. So the old kind of communal mediation process is lost on us and it’s starting to come back.

And we’re starting to kind of get to feel of the benefits of mediation. So the process is peaceful. You’re allowed to be heard.

You’re allowed to get out what it is that’s frustrating you. But we’re hopefully are mediators teachers and we help translate between the parties.

We help them understand. We help them try getting to each other shoes and find out ‘Well if I was my ex and why does he felt this way, why does he wants this so badly and why does she feel so’—it’s kind of digging deep.

No, we’re not therapist! A lot of times people are like ‘Well that sounds like family therapy.’ We don’t get into your childhood.

We don’t get into why you’re doing the things you’re doing. We’re just focusing on this process, these major changes you’re making in your family.

And we make it non-adversarial, peaceful, and supportive. And we really want the parties to hear and be heard. That’s what’s the most important.

Tim: Okay, well Lisa it’s a good explanation. It seems Lisa mentioned that we kind of get away from mediation. It’s been there for thousands of years—the courts and maybe because the courts are so impacted.

I tell my clients, ‘The courts don’t want you in the system. They don’t want you going in to the court.’

Lisa: No!

Tim: ‘They don’t want you in the court room. They want you if it’s all possible to come to the agreements.’

Lisa: Yes!

Tim: And I think in just a 100% of cases that you’re going to make people involved are going to make better decisions about their Divorce, in the terms of their Divorce.

Lisa: Right!

Tim: Than going to court and having some judge who just knows you for about 15 minutes.

Lisa: Exactly!

Tim: Making decisions that will then become orders.

Lisa: And impacted the rest of your life. I mean these are it is completely out of your hands at that point.  You get to the point where the judges saying, ‘Okay, here is what’s going to happen.’

You have lost all control of what happens with you, your money, your house, your kids. It is in somebody’s hands like you said somebody that’s known you for 15 seconds.

Tim: Yes, read a little bit.

Lisa: Maybe reviewed your case really quickly. And then decides the rest of your life together.

Tim: That’s right!

Lisa: And you’re right they don’t want you there. They are inundated. They are stacked up.

And it’s like ‘cattle call’ they’re just trying to move people through. And it’s just very slow process.

Tim: Yes, in fact we have some clients that come in and say, ‘Well, I’m just going to let the court decide.’  And I have to tell them that it doesn’t work that way. In fact the courts not going to get involve.

Lisa: Right.

Tim: …in your Divorce case, unless you specifically ask them to get involve. So you can file for Divorce. You can go through the process but it doesn’t automatically get picked up for the court.

You don’t automatically get a court date. You have to specifically ask for a court date for a trial.  Otherwise they do not want to touch it.

Lisa: And it could be months in advance.

Tim: It is months. Right now if you want to get the trail set in which is a request that takes 60-90 days just to get the date.

Then your date 60-90 days out from that. And that’s just to set the court date. That’s not the court date.

And it’s like a long term trail where you think it’s going to be several days we’re talking out about a year for a date.

Lisa: You’re right and people don’t realize the process and what’s involved. And they don’t realize that you are getting billed by your attorney.

Tim: Oh yes.

Lisa: While you wait to go to court. You don’t start when you walk in the court doors. You are being billed for your phone calls.

You’re being billed for your emails. You’re being billed for your time. And in mediation coming from a non-attorney mediation setting my set up is completely different to where I want your questions.

I want you to be in control of this process. I want you to know what it is that we’re doing and that the process makes sense to you.

I’m not going to bill you point two for an email or point two for a phone call. I want you to call me.

And I want to make sure that you are on board. And that this is something that’s working for you.

So as far as the fee set up it’s also a completely different bargain than what the attorneys have set up.

Tim: Right.  So let’s talk about that. Let’s talk about the cost of Divorce the cost of Mediation because it can be very expensive or it can be very low cost. It just depends on what direction you want to go.

And I found it interesting that you know about the point two and how they charge.

Lisa: Yes.

Tim: I worked for a law firm for several years out here and I was just surprised how much money goes into this and the way they bill.

Lisa: Right.

Tim: If you send an attorney an email you’re getting billed for that for them reading it. If you call them you’re getting billed for that time and you get charged in most cases at point six increments.

Lisa: Right!

Tim: So 10 6 minutes increments.  So if it’s a one minute conversation you’re getting billed for six minutes. And if they charged $450 an hour that phone call cost 20 30 or 40 bucks for—

Lisa: And adds up very quickly.   I know I’ve had conversations where they received the bill for the month and are just blown away.

They didn’t realized what was being charged, what they were being billed for.

Tim: We’ve had people call us and say I just spent $5,000 on a retainer for an attorney and their assumption was that was the total cost.

Lisa Scholz: Right.

Tim: They thought, okay $5,000 we’ll get through this. They didn’t realize that that’s a retainer. I’ve done a lot of videos about this.

Lisa Scholz: Yes.

Tim: It’s a retainer. They get billed hourly, your photocopies, postage, phone calls, and emails were all billed against that.

Lisa Scholz: Everything.

Tim: And it is gone in less than 30 days. And what I found is most of the time all that’s happened is the initial divorce papers were filed.

Lisa Scholz: Right.

Tim: And they’re served. No financial disclosures. Not even close to an agreement because that’s how it goes. I mean—it’s crazy. Now that’s it.

Mediation let’s tell folks how low cost it could be.

Lisa: Okay.

Tim: With mediation let’s say combined with our service where let’s say we are your Legal Document Preparation, we do the paperwork for them, we take care of all of going to court filing and serving all that.

Lisa: Right.

Tim: But they need help with the agreements.

Lisa: Okay.

Tim: So we can kind of work cohesively together, our two companies, I would say we get this case filed and get things started and get their financial stuff out in the open.

Lisa: Right.

Tim: Get that stuff done. And then generally, is that a good time for them to start the mediation process?

Lisa: Yes. So the way that I work it and I’ve done a lot of research and I’ve talked to a lot of Mediation Firms and I’ve worked with and I’ve gone through lots of pretty intense trainings.

I continue to go and learn new things. The field is just expanding very quickly. And I’ve talked to everybody that I can about ‘Well, how do you set up your process? And how do you have your fee?’

And you know most of attorneys they do it with the way attorneys do it.

Tim: Right.

Lisa: And is pretty uniformed and that’s how they do it. Non-attorney mediators have a bit of a different and we can be more flexible.

And we can decide–we’re going away from the attorney set up as far as fees. My initial consultation is free.

Call me on the phone and ask me as many questions as you want. I’m not going to charge you for it. I’ll take 30-60 minutes with you and explain the process.

I’ll let you ask as many questions as you want. I’ll send out a pocket before that you can read through.

And ask any questions about that, the mediation agreement, what it all entails. And then after that it’s a $150 per hour per party for each session.

And they usually last, each session we max out at three hours. I find that after three hours people just don’t want to think anymore.

That’s about the maximum. And I know I have heard about marathon mediation sessions that go all day long and people are just dead.

They can’t think anymore. They don’t want to talk anymore. They don’t want to try to come to any kind of agreement anymore.

And there’s not a whole lot of progress made. So I’ve decided that three hours chunks.

If it’s a simple mediation and then the partners have talked extensively before they even come in a three hour session is probably all they need.

Tim: And they may be mediating in every part of them?

Lisa: Exactly.

Tim: Or maybe just a single issue.

Lisa: Exactly. So –

Tim: Right?

Lisa: Many times I’ve had attorneys that don’t want to deal with the emotional parts of mediation where children are involved.

They asked me to step in and do the parenting plans because that’s something that they’re not comfortable with. They don’t like the wife crying.

They don’t want to hear all about the trauma and they say, ‘Hey, you know Lisa is a mediator. And she’s going to help you out with the parenting plan. And hopefully the two of you can figure something out as far as the kids are concerned. And then you can come back and we can talk about your money.’

Tim: So what is the Math on that? You said a $150 per hour per party?

Lisa: Per party.

Tim: Per session.

Lisa: So it’s like $300 if you go to a three sessions. So it’s 900 bucks for that session.

Tim: For three hours?

Lisa: For three hours.

Tim: Okay.

Lisa: If it’s an extensive mediation to where they haven’t even thought of anything, they’re just starting the process sometimes it will take two or three sessions to get through all of what they need to come up with the best agreement.

Tim: It depends on how much they have?

Lisa: But there’s no hidden cost. They’re not going to get a bill.

And I usually ask them to pay that before the mediation depending–

Tim: Okay.

Lisa: And if it goes shorter then I refund them as ‘Okay, I think this is probably going to be two hour session.’

Tim: Yes.

Lisa: And we knocked it out with an hour and a half. Then I refund that amount.

Tim: Sure.

Lisa: There are no hidden costs. And as far as the filing this is why I think our two companies is such a great partnership because as a non-attorney mediator, I don’t have the legal background.

I’m not allowed. It’s illegal for me to drop any kind of legal documents.

Tim: Same with us.

Lisa: So I—

Tim: We’ll draft legal documents.

Lisa: Right.

Tim: Okay, and then Lisa you give legal advice?

Lisa: No. No legal advice.

Tim: Yes.

Lisa: I always say, ‘You know what? It’s probably –‘

Tim: We draft legal documents.

Lisa: Yes, I was going to say that’s what you do but no legal advice.

Tim: Right.

Lisa: And—and attorney mediator shouldn’t be doing that anyway. But as a non-attorney it’s easy for me because I don’t do the law. That’s not what I do.

Tim: Right.

Lisa: So that’s where I say, ‘but I have this great company that will get everything together that needs to be filed. And your costs are also extremely low.’

Tim: In comparison.

Lisa: … as far as—I mean in comparison and again I’ve done a lot of research before I jumped in to this field with both feet.

A normal divorce with normal people that are not wealthy, they’re not celebrities, they don’t have a ton of money, they don’t have a vacation house costs anywhere between $60,000 and a $100,000.

That is an average divorce.

Tim: I’ve looked up those same statistics and it’s shocking and I think people don’t really think that, that is true.

Lisa: They think it’s not going to be that for me.

Tim: Right.

Lisa: Because we’re going to keep the cost down. And we’re going to figure this out. But they don’t realize how it adds up so quickly.

Tim: Very quickly! And that’s I think that two attorneys combined. So they have—

Lisa: Exactly!

Tim: If you have 30,000 they have 30,000 and I tell you having worked for attorney that is not uncommon. And often they worked that people would get their bills at the end of the month.

And we had more people call us after receiving their bill and say I want to settle. I want to settle.

Lisa: We’re done. We’re done.

Tim: I can’t believe we’re going to have nothing left at the end of this. And only unfortunately the attorneys win.

So they take that $60,000-100,000. Even if let’s say you have a simple case.

And you have all your agreements which would make you suitable for my services and you go to an attorney that can easily run you $15,000 just because of the hourly rates of the attorneys preparing the documents filing fees and so forth.

It can add up. So when you hear our fees combined and just roughly if you have minimal issues or just a few issues and maybe one session use our service for document preparation, Lisa’s services for mediation per session you’re talking like around $2,000 at the top of things as opposed to—

Lisa: …which is a quarter of a retainer that you would have to plant down at the beginning–

Tim: For attorney.

Lisa: Before anything else is done.

Tim: Yes. Before they start the case, yes! And that’s after your $350 or $450 paid consultations.

Lisa: Right. Right, it really is just such a start difference. And again we had the time issue.

We talked about the courts talking forever to even hear your case.  And there’s a lots of hoops you have to jump through before that even is on their calendar.

We can do mediation with your Divorce and it’s up to you. The court doesn’t tell you when you have to be there.

You decide on your schedule what works best for you.

It could a month if you kind of have to space it out and that would be the longest that would take for you to complete everything on your schedule, on your timeline, not somebody else is.

Tim: Yes.  There are different types of mediators. You have attorney mediators.

We kind of talk about that a bit.

Lisa: Right.

Tim: We have non-attorney mediators as your self. And we have court mediators.

Lisa: Right.

Tim: We have mediators at the court as a part of the process. Can you talk a bit on the differences between let’s say an attorney mediator. We’re talking about the litigation mindset.

Lisa: Right.

Tim: Non-attorney mediators and I’d also like to know, at the end of the day when you’re done with mediation, what do I walk away with and how is that beneficial?

Lisa: Okay.

Tim: Let’s say call me, ‘So we’ve had mediator and Tim we have all the conditions, the terms were ironed out.” What would they have at the end of that? They have some type of a written agreement? That sort of thing.

Lisa: Okay, now the judge it’s a requirement especially in family law. You have to meet with the family law mediator. The LA Superior Court systems require that mediator in the court house to bill an attorney.

Tim: Right.

Lisa: They don’t allow non-attorney mediators in that process.

Tim: So what you’re saying is if you’re going to go to a court for a trial or hearing of any med type, you have to go to the court mediator first before they will talk to the judge.

They’re hoping you will in that court mediation they will come to an agreement before they’re seeing the judge. So that’s what you’re referring to?

Lisa: Which is almost in my mind and I’ve seen the other side in different organizations I’ve worked with, I’ve taken clients as I’ve advocated for them or represented them as in different organizations I’ve taken them to mediation.

And this is while I was going to school to get my graduate degree in Mediation and I just thought this is not what I thought it would be like.

This is what not I think the Peer Mediation process should be like. They give you about 15 minutes, maybe. They are attorneys, so, they ask a very directive questions.

They will flat out say, ‘No, I don’t think that you should agree to that.’

Tim: Really? So they’re not really neutral?

Lisa: They’re not!

Tim: At that point.

Lisa: They have—

Tim: And this is the court?

Lisa: These are the court mandated, hired by the court. These are the ones that they require you to talk to before you come in to the judge.

Tim: Yes.

Lisa: And I hate to say this but they’re pretty much a bully! They’re a little bit bully into making this agreement quickly.

You don’t have a lot of time. The judge is waiting on you. Let’s just get this run through.

And it’s an intimidating process for people.

Tim: And the reason I want to bring this that these three court mediators, attorney mediators and non-attorney mediators because they are not there to sit for two or three hours in every sessions…

Lisa: No.

Tim: …of your time on your schedules. You’re talking about a line of people a day or two prior to or even on the day of your hearing.

Lisa: The same day right.

Tim: Going in there and they have other hundred people to mediate and they’re pushing you through. So that’s not what I call professional paid mediation which is what you have.

Lisa: Right. It’s not the best. That’s right.

Tim: Which is on your time, so, I just want to get these differences out there. So why don’t you talk a little bit about attorney mediators?

People that are attorneys and then they also offer mediation services at that litigation mindset?

Lisa: Well, like I said the mediation process is starting to kind of have a researching.  It’s a little bit of a rebirth because like I said it’s never really gone away.

It’s just our particular culture has kind of smashed it down because of our different way of looking at things. It’s coming back.

Attorneys are very aware that that’s something that maybe a little bit of a competition for them because they want to keep that adversarial.

They want to drag these cases out. They want to have all of these billed hours. That’s why they went to law school.

So they see mediation let’s say, ‘That is something maybe I can do as part of my law practice. I can add that for a little bit more income and then give people the peace of mind.’

Oh yes, I’ve heard about mediation. And I know you’ve read about it. I offer that as well.

But the people are not getting the Peer Mediation process. They’re getting an attorney particularly a couple of weeks training and is going to try their best to represent people when in their mind it’s like, ‘No, he should be doing that.’ ‘No, she should be doing that.’ ‘No, he should not be giving in to that.’

And they’re very directive.

Tim: So what kind of issues would come from that? Why is that not probably the best way of mediating?

Lisa: Well, ideally obviously you can’t be completely neutral. I’ve had cases where I’ve related more of some it’s not always to the wife, sometimes I relate more to the husband and think ‘What is her problem? She is being so unreasonable.’

And sometimes you can even say that to the person saying, ‘You know what it feels to me like you were kind putting obstacles in the way it is. And what is it that you’re really wanting right now?’

Tim: What’s the real thing?

Lisa: ‘What’s going on with you?’ And you can take them and separate them and not have the other person and say, ‘We’ve kind of come to a stand still. Let’s hear what’s going on with you. What is so important that about the set of spoons that we’re going to take two sessions on the set of spoons?’

You want to figure out what’s the underlined cause.

Tim: It’s not about the spoons. There’s something out there.

Lisa: It’s not about the spoons, it never is.

Tim: I needed a Master’s Degree in Psychology?

Lisa: In Psychology.

Tim: So you probably can pick up on these things?

Lisa: It’s a different background. And I think definitely the attorney’s are not going to want to take the time.

I had an attorney. I got tune up pretty well in the training and he said, ‘As soon as the wife starts crying and they start going at it, I get up and I walk down the hall and talk to somebody until I can hear it’s quieting down.’

He’s like, ‘I don’t want to deal with that.’

Tim: Isn’t that at the point where someone really needs to be in the room?

Lisa: Yes.

Tim: Like that should be the opposite?

Lisa: Yes. And that’s the mediator’s job. As a neutral party I’m here for both of you.

Yes, sometimes you’re being a pain and you’re kind of dragging the process down. Yes and sometimes it’s the other party. And you can sometimes call them out on that.

But we want to bring the level of contention down. That’s the only way because I think we’ve had conversations before you say people make the worst decisions when they’re emotionally charged.

Tim: Right.

Lisa: They don’t make good decisions. So a lot of times a whole session will be letting them bend these emotions in a safe room where they feel like they can be heard.

The other person is respectful, doesn’t interrupt, attorneys just don’t know that process. And they don’t have the patience to go through that kind of thing.

Tim: So folks are having difficulty communicating. They hire an attorney mediator to mediate for them.

And they get to the point where they’re having trouble talking which is exactly why they hire them for. They get up and walk away.

Lisa: Right.

Tim: So—

Lisa: You let me know when you’re done and we’ll get back to crunching the numbers.

Tim: Yes.

Lisa: Because they just want the process to get done. And they just want to kind of assure people assure the public we know mediations of another process and we’ve read about it and we offer that as well.

But there’s no way that it can be the same kind of process, it’s just litigation.

Tim: The mindset.

Lisa: For both of them.

Tim: By the way when the attorney gets up to go and talk down the hall while you’re arguing you’re still getting billed.

Lisa: They’re billing you.

Tim: Yes.

Lisa: They’re billing you. Point six, point five.

Tim: Okay, so finally on non-attorney mediations. So with your services we’ve talked about the court and how that doesn’t seem very ideal, attorney litigation mindset. And now with yours how is that work to in comparison?

Lisa: Okay. That’s –

Tim: Though we’ve talked about it a little bit.

Lisa: And this is such a great opportunity because it’s like you said people just aren’t aware that this is an option for them.

They feel like we can get our ties and go to work. Okay, we’ve heard about this mediation process. Okay, my attorney offers mediation and they feel like that’s their only other option.

And it maybe is a better process than litigation but the mediator you’re working with is still looking ahead to thinking well probably end up in litigation anyway. And so that’s a kind of the end game.

When you’re coming from a completely different background and I’ve met other mediators from like family therapist are taking on mediation because they have seen the after Math of what happens to families.

And they’ve had to deal with that. And now they’re trying to prevent all of that chaos and disaster and destruction by offering mediation services which I think is a great background.

But a lot of times they feel like they need to partner up with an attorney to make themselves legitimate and then the process kind of gets tainted again by that attorney fee set up the litigation mindset and it kind of goes off track just a little bit.

But as far as finding a mediator that fits and it has to be a good fit. You have to feel comfortable with the person. You have to trust them.

You have to feel like okay this person is listening to me. This person I don’t feel like it’s going to take my husband side or my wife side in this. I think that’s a worry for some people how are you going to be or how are you going to go take her side on this.

Tim: Sure.

Lisa: Are you going to feel like she’s right and I am wrong. And I mean that’s a worry nobody can be really in partial.

But as a mediator that’s our job. It’s to do that the best we can.

Tim: Right.

Lisa: I have a websites I am on a lot of different mediation organizational sites, and Southern California Mediation Association and there’s couple of other ones.

And when you look for a mediator those are great resources because a lot of times they are private mediation firms that don’t have that attorney background.

And there’s more and more of us coming because we love, we’re passionate about the process. We want to bring peace especially in the Divorce situation.

We want to bring peace to these families and really save a lot of heartache. And so we’re trying to focus and educate the public.

Tim: Right.

Lisa: About these options that we’re out there.

Tim: That’s why we’re doing this today.

Lisa: Yes.

Tim: Yes, to let people know that mediation exists and what they can do.

So how does the law work in relationship to mediation? Because people want to know what’s the law say? What’s the law on this? You need kind of a foundation of what the rule is to make a good informed decision?

Lisa: Right. Yes.

Tim: Let’s say there is going to be an issue with spousal support let’s say, what is the law say? Okay, it’s a long term marriage of how much should be paid—

Lisa: There’s a lot of numbers —

Tim: What would the court say because they need to know what might happen in court perhaps to know maybe they should get spousal support for life but you’re in mediation and they agree to one year.

Lisa: Right.

Tim: Because they didn’t know the law said they could get it for life. That’s just a scenario.

So as a none-attorney mediator and unlike me I’m unable to give legal advice, in mediation how do you deal with that?

Lisa: That’s a good question and that was something that’s as I’ve set through this different trainings, I’m worried because you want to give your clients the best possible care. Like an attorney you’re held up to a standard now.

This time mediation is not licensed. They’re coming closer and closer to that possibility and they’re setting more and more firm guidelines as to how a mediator should behave as a professional which is nice.

It’s always nice for public…

Tim: Sure.

Lisa: …to have these guidelines. As a non-attorney mediator like I said I can’t draft a legal document, I can’t give legal advice but to give you the best possible care and give you those option it’s I always recommend before even during our first consultation that you find an attorney that you trust that you can asked these questions.

And I also worked with family attorneys that I can call on their behalf when they have these questions. And ask those questions for them.

And we’ve worked out fee, terms between the two of us, consultation fees but they need to know what the court says even if they decide to opt against the court.

Tim: Right.

Lisa: Especially when there’s many involved they need to know like you said, what is the DissoMaster? How does that work?

There’s so many different options and I say of course I think it’s a really good idea if you can consult with an attorney.

But I want to reiterate and remind you that this is your agreement and it should be up to you and not them.

Tim: So do you recommend that they consult with an attorney before they mediate or after –

Lisa: You can do it during the process, the first thing I ask is if they’ve talked to an attorney? If they have any kind of representation, I have a referral list of attorneys that I’ve trust and that know me but I give them financial consultants.

I have attorney, I have definitely your company on there as well which I think they should go directly to but you can’t give legal advice either.

Tim: Right.

Lisa: You can just get everything ready for them so that we can get it to the court when it’s finished.

And the attorneys that I have on my list are ones that don’t nickel and dime and they’re willing to talk to them on the phone and answer questions without billing them, without asking for a retainer, without any of these things.

Tim: There’s not many of those.

Lisa: They’re not many of those. And I think they’re just on my list.

Tim: Yes.

Lisa: That is important to me to have clients have that available to them because it is important that they know their options and that they don’t feel like they signed an agreement and came to an agreement ignorantly and didn’t know.

Tim: Right! Or goes down the road and say, ‘Wait a minute–’

Lisa: ‘I should have known.’ Right!

Tim: Yes.

Lisa:  Right, so that’s definitely not something I want.

Tim: So kind of the ideal scene would that’s how I kind of see things. They maybe come to our services and what I try and tell people is most of what we do is amicable cases where they already know from the most part what they want.

But they don’t have to have all the agreements. And the reason I want to get this information out there is people don’t need attorneys even if they’re not in agreement.

Lisa: Right.

Tim: You don’t have to run through an attorney because you don’t have an agreement. You can use our service.

We can get the paperwork started for and get that process moving with the courts. We’ll move forward and work with you towards the end. And let you know about the agreements.

And if you have struggles and problems, that’s when you would call a mediator to get those little things, ironed out.

Lisa: Right.

Tim: And once those agreements are drafted and you guys agreed to what the terms are going to be, simply they come back to us. And then we put that on the legal documents –

Lisa: Right.

Tim: …for the court and that gets submitted to the court. And that’s honestly how easy it can be instead of hiring an attorney to do all these things.

Because once you have attorney what automatically happens is your spouse is going to get an attorney and because –

Lisa: And that’s when the adversarial process steps in.

Tim: Because it’s adversarial, they have to defend and fight for you. It’s automatically things that you won’t agreed upon are probably going to go away.

Lisa: Right. They dissolved.

Tim: They’re going to bring up new issues and new problems and all that. So hopefully by us doing this video people will watch this.

Lisa: Right.

Tim: And say, ‘Wow! There’s this new way of doing things.’ It’s not really new. It’s thousands of years old.

Lisa: But new to our society for sure.

Tim: Yes. And I don’t want to say steal away business from attorneys. We want to give them the assistance they really needed.

They won’t need litigation—

Lisa: And you know in Family Law especially, now there are areas where attorneys are extremely beneficial to people in businesses in tax areas.

These are areas where you, that’s probably where I would send you first.

But when there’s a Divorce, when there’s difficult family decisions to make, when there’s kids that are sad and upset and they don’t know what’s going on, attorneys make it worst 99% of the time.

And the court system is not where you want to have your family. You don’t want to spend your time and your money when at the end you’ve lost your shirt, you’ve lost your sanity and things are a hundred times worst than they were at the beginning of it.

Tim: Now it takes two though where there are certainly cases Divorce cases that there’s no way it’s not going to an attorney.

Lisa: Right.

Tim: People hiding assets.

Lisa: Oh yes!

Tim: Domestic violence, I mean—

Lisa: And those issues come up that’s when I terminate mediation.

Tim: Yes.

Lisa: I mean not everything can be mediated.

Tim: Right.

Lisa: Unfortunately I would love to think so. But when those issues come up and those were on my intake questions when I talked to people in the phone, I asked very specific questions about domestic violence.

Tim: Yes.

Lisa: And about what types of financial issues are you having? Those are the things that need to be straightened out.

Those can’t just be you can’t come in and just smoothen it all over and say, ‘Oh, we’re all going to hold hands now and just we’re going to agree on everything.’

That’s something that really needs the professionals, the legal professionals to step in.

Tim: Right. So attorneys are there for those who need it in their cases. We’re not here to say that no one should be using an attorney.

Lisa: No!

Tim: Because when there’s people hiding assets and doing those types of things and not playing fair.

Lisa: No, you really need that one—

Tim: The only way or they have a business and they’re hiding assets.

Lisa: Definitely!

Tim: They’re not showing their true income or you need business evaluations, these are things where attorneys would be needed. But that’s the very far and very few in between.

Lisa: Yes, they’re not many like that.

Tim: 90% 95% of the cases are no attorney involvement.

Lisa: Right.

Tim: Definitely, they have some professional services like ours preparing their documents.

They probably have some assistance with coming to agreements. And but outside of that they can save a ton of money.

Lisa: Yes.

Tim: They can get through it and still have somewhat of relationship with their spouse or their ex-spouse.

Lisa: Right.

Tim: Former spouse.

Lisa: Co-parents, oh yeah!

Tim: Co-parents, that’s particularly important with kids.

Lisa: Yes.

Tim: So ideally document preparation with us, mediation with you that should solve things after you put together the agreements.

They could go to independent attorneys for consultation and say, ‘Take a look at those agreements.’

Lisa: Check it out and I encourage that.

Tim: ‘Take a look at this agreement, does it seem fair? And then let them tell you what the plus and minuses are of it—‘

Lisa: And come back and we can talk about it for sure.

Tim: You come back and talk about that. Now don’t hire the attorney. Just go on a consultation. I’ve always try to help people and save money.

Lisa: Yes, you don’t have to

Tim: Pay for a one hour consultation and let them review it. So Lisa would have put together the agreements.

I would put them on to the actual judgment documents for the court. And then you could take them before we file it with the court, you sign it, the attorney can review it and –

Lisa: And I definitely encourage before you sign anything and make anything and send anything in to court, I want everyone to feel comfortable.

And because of our society and the way that we feel about our court systems and give them so much authority it gives people a peace of mind to know ‘Okay, my legal person said that this is a fair agreement.’

Tim: Right.

Lisa: And of course they’re going to ask and look at it and maybe say, ‘I don’t know. Did you really agree to that?’

And that something that you can come back and then talk about it if that’s something that you’re not completely settled.

I don’t want you to sign anything if you have any kind of reservations. That’s I’m not going to make you do that.

Tim: Very good.  I think we covered quite a bit. Is there anything else we need to touch on?

Lisa: I can’t think of anything else. No I just appreciate the opportunity to be able to let people know about this and I think this is a good combo for like you said…

Tim: Absolutely.

Lisa:  The majority of the Divorce is that you’re going on out there…

Tim: Yes.

Lisa: It’s just money saver, time saver and sanity saver for you.

Tim: Yes, I’m so excited to find you because I had nowhere to send folks that need mediation services. I was to send them out of town.

Lisa: Yes. It’s nice to keep things in and about.

Tim: It is. So why don’t you one last time Lisa Scholz in your website and where is the best way they can contact you?

Lisa: Well, okay, well I have a business phone number. I have an office on Magic Mountain, Parkway.

And my business phone number is 661-481-2202. And they can reach me no matter where I am.

And my email address or my website is and I’m combining everything. So that is –

Tim: And your email is


Tim: .com

Lisa: So yes, it’s easy because my name is in everything.

Tim: Yes.

Lisa: And like I said, I check my emails every evening. And it’s on your schedule. So—

Tim: Free consultations.

Lisa: Yes!

Tim: You got to take advantage of that and make sure to give her a call. And definitely I’ve already sent some clients through your way. I don’t know if you got any calls or not?

Lisa: I’ve gotten a couple and like I said I check my emails

Tim: Yes.

Lisa: It was in the evenings so it’s just —

Tim: Very good and that helps my business. If I with confidence can get people and they say, ‘Tim, we have no agreements at all. We have no agreements. Can we use your service?’

‘Yes, because I can refer you at to mediation.’

Lisa: Yes, to get those agreements.

Tim: To get those agreements.

Lisa: Perfect!

Tim: And that’s a beautiful thing.

Lisa: Good!

Tom: We also give free consultations. Give us a call and we’ll let you know if you’re a good fit for our service.

You can call Lisa if you have questions about Mediation. Other than that is my website.

We’re on YouTube. We have silver outlets, live podcast and broadcasting just trying to get that—

Lisa: Great, I like all those stuff.

Tim: All these informations out there to folks and kind of pull the curtain back on how Divorce works here in California.

Lisa: Good.

Tim: So thanks so much for coming.

Lisa: Thanks for having me.

Tim: Alright!