Claremont Divorce Mediation Lawyer
Even when a couple agrees to divorce, they are rarely in total agreement on all the issues which must be resolved as part of the divorce process. Couples may even agree in broad outline in areas such as the division of community property, the custody of the kids, or the payment of support, but when it comes down to ironing out the details, significant disputes arise and the divorce seems headed for court. However, not every dispute in a California divorce needs to be decided by a trial judge. Couples who are able to communicate with one another and wish to avoid a courtroom battle may want to consider mediation as an alternative means of dispute resolution. Learn more about divorce mediation below, and contact an experienced divorce mediation lawyer at Blasser Law for advice on how best to handle your divorce in Claremont or Los Angeles.
How mediation works in California divorce cases
Mediation is an informal process where the parties try to resolve their differences with the help of a mediator. A mediator is a trained professional who facilitates communication between the divorcing spouses. There is no one set way a mediator will conduct the mediation; rather the mediator will utilize different strategies depending upon the way the parties are responding to the mediation. For instance, if the parties are initially not speaking to one another, the mediator may separate them in different rooms and communicate with each party individually, shuttling back and forth in search of middle ground. More often, though, all the parties are present together and talking with one another, with the mediator helping to keep them on track toward the final goal, focusing on issues and interests without digging in to positions or launching personal emotional personal attacks at one another.
The mediator can help the parties draw up an agreement, which can be finalized by the attorneys, who are also present in the mediation. Using a family law attorney who is familiar with mediation can help the process go more smoothly and successfully.
Mediation is voluntary in California divorce and will only take place if both parties agree to try mediation. In the event mediation is unsuccessful, the parties can continue to litigate their case in court, including a trial before the judge if a settlement cannot be reached. The mediator does not have the power or authority to make binding decisions that affect the divorce.
Benefits of mediation for your California divorce
Time – Mediation may take as little as half a day, or in some situations may last a day or two. Preparing for a trial, in contrast, takes many months. Also, a mediation can be scheduled at any time that is convenient to the parties and the mediator. Trials, on the other hand, must fit into a southern California court’s overworked docket. Even if the parties are ready for trial, it may take months just to secure an available trial date. A mediated divorce typically resolves much more quickly than a litigated one.
Cost – Since the entire process is quicker, mediation is also less expensive than trial. The parties divide the cost of the mediator equally, and there are no additional costs for discovery in preparation of trial (deposing witnesses, hiring experts or forensic accountants, conducting business valuations, etc.).
Privacy – A mediation is a private proceeding, whereas trials take place in open court, and court records are public documents available to anyone. If you want to keep your financial assets and the terms of your divorce secret, mediation provides this ability.
Creativity – The parties are free to fashion their divorce in any way they see fit that best meets the needs of everyone involved. A court-ordered judgment is likely to be much more restrictive.
Family Relationships – Even though you are separating from your spouse, you may still have some contact with him or her in the future, especially if you share children in common. Mediation has the capacity to avoid the hurt feelings and negative emotions often generated at trial and may even help divorced spouses get along better with one another, since they may leave the mediation with a better understanding of each other’s interests and needs.
Compliance – Some couples go through a lengthy divorce only to find themselves back in court time and again to seek enforcement of a custody or support order, or to argue over the terms of a settlement agreement. In mediation, the parties are personally involved in creating solutions, giving them a personal stake in the outcome. They are therefore more likely to voluntarily comply with the terms of a mediated divorce, without the need for court enforcement or contempt proceedings.
Streamlined litigation – Even if the mediation is unsuccessful in resolving all of the issues in the divorce, it may still resolve or narrow some issues, leaving less on the table that must be litigated. The parties typically leave mediation better prepared for trial as well, saving time and expense in the long run and fostering the potential to reach agreement somewhere along the way.
Call Blasser Law in Claremont for a Los Angeles Mediation and Divorce Lawyer
Mediation is not for everybody. Sometimes hurt feelings won’t let a party come to the table willing to listen and agree. Some issues are too big, complex or legally intricate to hash out in an informal setting. Also, both parties and their attorneys must be not just willing to try mediation but genuinely want mediation to be successful. If you are considering mediation in your California divorce, it is worthwhile to choose an attorney experienced in divorce mediation, and to discuss the subject at a meeting with your lawyer. In Los Angeles, call Blasser Law at 877-927-2181 to speak with a mediation-friendly Los Angeles divorce lawyer.