New Client FAQs

Initial Consultations

Q: How do I schedule an initial consultation? 

A: To schedule an intro call or initial consultation, please visit our scheduling page.


Q: What do we cover in an initial consultation?

A: That depends on your particular situation and the unique issues relevant to you. Generally speaking, initial consultations provide:

  • Answers to the questions you may have about your specific situation; 
  • A basic grounding in the law that applies to you;
  • An overview of how the process works, whether mediation, collaborative law or a more traditional negotiation; and
  • A summary of your options for moving forward along with recommended next steps.

Q: How long is an initial consultation? 

A: We reserve 90 minutes for initial consultations.

Q: What information is useful to bring to a first consultation?

A: Any of the information or documents listed below can be useful in an initial consultation, but none of them is necessary. Many of these items take time to put together, and many clients bring only their questions to the first consultation. 

Put together whatever is easy for you, and we’ll take it from there:

  • A list of any specific questions or concerns you may currently have. 
  • A preliminary list of assets and liabilities (both yours and your spouse/fiancé/partner’s).
  • Estimates of income from all sources (e.g., employment, investments, gifts), both yours and your spouse/fiancé/partner’s.
  • Digital copies of your most recent federal tax return.
  • Court orders from past or present court cases.
  • Draft or final agreements (e.g., a prenuptial agreement) relevant to you.


Q: Should my spouse/partner/fiancé join the initial consultation?

A: Possibly. It depends on what kind of service you’re looking for. 

If you’re looking for a mediator, both of you would join the initial consultation. 

If you, individually, are looking for a lawyer or legal coach, only you would join the initial consultation.


Q: What is the cost for an initial consultation? 

A: Initial consultations are billed at a flat rate. That rate varies by practitioner and is listed on the scheduling page where you’ll set up your initial consultation


Q: What happens after an initial consultation? 

A: If you decide to work with our office after an initial consultation, you’ll sign a retainer agreement, and we’ll get to work on the matter at hand. 


Retainers and Rates

Q: What’s a retainer, and how do retainers work?

A: Retainers are advance payments, but do not represent a flat fee for services. When we receive a retainer, we bill all of our work against it at our hourly rates. If the retainer depletes, it’s replenished. If the retainer is not used in full, any excess is refunded to you.

Q: What amount of retainer do you take?

A: Retainer amounts vary by the type of service we’re providing and range from 5 to 20 hours. 


Q: What are your hourly rates? 

A: Our rates vary by attorney and range from $500 to $650 per hour.  

Agreement Review

Q: I have a draft of an agreement that I’d like to have reviewed. Can you help with that? 

A: We’d be happy to.


Q: How do I get the process the started? 

A: First, we’ll send you our retainer agreement to review. To do that, we’ll need your full name and mailing address, as well as the full name of your spouse/fiancé/partner. Whenever you’re ready, you can return the signed retainer agreement and retainer payment to the office.


Q: How long does it take for you to review my agreement? 

A: It usually takes about 2 weeks, but it varies based on our workload at the time. Please check in with us to confirm timeline when you send your retainer in.


Q: Should I send you anything else before you review my agreement?

A: A bit of context is helpful. Email us a brief summary of your situation, including:

  • A summary of assets and debts, as well as income and expenses (if relevant) for each of you and your spouse/fiancé/partner. These summaries tend to look a bit different depending on the kind of agreement we’re reviewing for you, so we may ask for further information once we’ve had a chance to take a preliminary look at your agreement;
  • A description of who drafted your agreement and what your negotiation process was like (e.g., did you participate?);
  • A list of any concerns or questions you have about the agreement; and
  • Anything else you’d like us to know.


It is also helpful for us to be able to review digital copies of your last three years of federal tax returns (and those of your spouse/fiancé/partner, if available). If you have any existing agreements signed between you, please forward digital copies of those, as well.


Q: Once you’ve reviewed my agreement, what happens?

A: Your reviewing attorney will reach out to you to schedule a consultation. In that consult, you will go through the agreement together, review any concerns with or suggested improvements to the draft (from either you or the reviewing attorney), and make sure that all of your questions regarding the agreement are answered to your satisfaction.


Q: What should I bring to that consult? 

A: Beyond ensuring that you’ve read the agreement and made a list of any questions or concerns, you can just bring yourself.


Q: How long will our consultation be? 

A: Most consults are 1.5 to 2 hours, though depending on your agreement, more than one session may be needed. Our central goal is to ensure that you have a clear understanding of what your agreement says, and that all your questions and concerns have been fully responded to.


Q: What happens after our consultation? 

A: That depends on your particular situation. You may be satisfied with the agreement as-is and not need further assistance. You may want us to help you negotiate changes to your agreement. You may ask that we draft and send certain comments and suggested changes to your mediator or your spouse/fiancé/partner’s attorney. Whatever the case, we’ll clarify next steps at the end of your consultation. 

Uncontested Divorce Filing

Q: Can you draft my divorce papers?

A: If you and your spouse already have a signed separation or settlement agreement drafted by a New York attorney, our office is generally able to draft your uncontested divorce papers. 

If you don’t have such an agreement, you’ll want to set up an initial consultation with us first. We may still be able to draft your uncontested divorce papers if:

  • Both spouses are in agreement to move forward with the divorce; and 
  • There are no issues of custody, child support, spousal maintenance or property division to speak to.

If you do have issues of custody, child support, spousal maintenance or property division to speak to, we can assist you in drafting the necessary separation or settlement agreement, and then the divorce paperwork. There, too, you’d start by setting up an initial consultation.



Q: How much do you charge for uncontested divorce drafting? Do you take a retainer? 

A: We bill for all work, including uncontested divorces, at the hourly rate of the attorney handling your matter. For uncontested divorces, we take a retainer of $3,500.


Q: How do I get the process the started? 

A: If you have a signed separation or settlement agreement, please send us a copy of that agreement, along with any updated mailing address for either you or your spouse. Once we’ve confirmed that we can draft your divorce paperwork, we’ll send you a copy of our retainer agreement to review. Whenever you’re ready, you can return the signed retainer agreement and retainer payment to the office. 


If you do not have a signed separation or settlement agreement, we would first schedule an initial consultation with you to assess whether we are able to draft your uncontested papers and what your best next steps are.


Q: How long does it take for your office to draft my divorce papers? 

A: Once you’ve retained the office, it usually takes us 2-3 weeks to draft your divorce papers.


Q: What happens once you’ve drafted my divorce papers? 

A: First, we send the draft documents to you and your spouse (and his or her attorney, if relevant) to review. Then, we send final, signature copies of the documents to you and your spouse to sign, with detailed instructions for signing. Finally, once you’ve signed and returned the required documents, we sign a host of documents on our end and submit all documents to the court on your behalf. 


Q: How long does it take for the court to process my divorce paperwork? 

A: That depends a lot on where you file, the judge you’re randomly assigned to, and the queue of cases ahead of yours at the time you file. In general, it can take several months, sometimes longer.

Founded in 2014, Mason Law & Mediation provides highly-skilled and holistic mediation, Collaborative Law, settlement negotiation, and legal coaching services to individuals, couples and families in New York.