New Divorce Mediation Services for Low Income Families

The Mandell Gisnet Center, the nonprofit mediation service arm of the Monterey College of Law, announces the launch of divorce mediation services for low income and modest means families in Monterey County. The program will begin in September and is part of Mandell Gisnet’s mission to provide a collaborative alternative for individuals who are seeking a divorce but cannot afford an attorney. The fee for mediation services is based on a sliding scale. Staff will work with couples to determine if they qualify for our services, and provide referrals to other local mediators for those couples who are not eligible. Individuals who exceed the strict income and asset limits will be referred to other local mediation services that may be available.

MGC’s Divorce Mediation Project seeks to fill a gap in available services for divorcing couples. In order to provide the services at a low cost, the Center will offer mediation facilitated by trained volunteers, including supervised MCL law students and local lawyers who have been certified as mediators.

“Our new family law mediation program is part of the Monterey College of Law’s ongoing commitment to serving the community and simultaneously training our students to give back to the community,” says MCL Dean Mitchel L. Winick. The Divorce Mediation Project is a new addition to the existing community-based mediation programs now run by Mandell Gisnet, including mediation for neighbor disputes, landlords/tenant disputes, small claims, workplace conflicts, and limited civil cases.

Mediators are trained and ready to begin service in September. “We are excited about the start of this new program that will help people get through the difficult process of divorce, without needing to go to court or navigate complicated legal paperwork without help,” says Isabel Bjork, Associate Dean in charge of the Mandell Gisnet Center.

People interested in using or finding out more about this program can contact Program Coordinator Suzanne Koebler at (831) 582-5234 or at mediate@mandellgisnetcenter.org.

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