Los Angeles Divorce Mediation Lawyer
Disputes in a divorce case often center around child support, child custody, alimony, and the distribution of marital property.
These issues can have a significant impact on a person's happiness, quality of life, relationship with their children, and financial security. For this reason, they are often hotly contested, and divorcing couples often need to litigate these matters in order to move forward with their divorce.
One of the main problems with resorting to litigation is that it involves significant uncertainty and does not allow for input from the parties as the judge makes his or decision about the ways these issues should be resolved.
Fortunately, if you are unable to come to an agreement about how to resolve these issues with your spouse, divorce mediation can be an effective way to resolve divorce disputes without the cost and expense of having to go to court and is similar to arbitration. You might want to pursue a collaborative divorce, which is a process of resolving your differences out of court.
If you are currently going through a divorce where child support, child custody, alimony and/or marital property distribution are in dispute, our experienced Los Angeles divorce attorneys are here to help. There are some important steps to take before asking your spouse for a divorce. Our experienced divorce mediation attorneys can evaluate your case and make a determination about whether the case would benefit from mediation or some other form of alternative dispute resolution.
California Divorce Process
California is a ‘no-fault divorce' state, meaning that a California court may grant a divorce based upon ‘irreconcilable differences.' In other words, neither party must have “done something wrong” in order to obtain a divorce. A California court will issue a Decree of Divorce, which is a binding court order.
For some couples, the fear of divorce expense keeps them unhappily married. Better understanding the fees for a California divorce will give you an idea about how much it will likely cost.
In addition to the divorce itself, couples must also make decisions about child custody (both legal and physical custody), child support, payment of alimony (i.e. spousal support), and distribution of community property (both community assets and community debts). In California, the parties may agree to resolve these issues, with or without mediation. However, when the parties cannot agree to resolve a divorce dispute, then a California family court judge must resolve the dispute for them.
Facts About Divorce Mediation in California
No one knows or understands the issues in a divorce case better than the parties themselves. Judges only know about a divorce case to the extent the parties and their attorneys present evidence in court. Thus, the parties, themselves, are in the best position to resolve the case outside of court. What follows are some important facts about the divorce mediation process in California:
- Mediation allows the parties to work out their divorce disputes themselves – with the assistance of a neutral mediator – and without having to go to court and let a judge resolve the disputes for them.
- Mediators are usually retired judges or practicing California family law attorneys who meet with the parties and help to facilitate a discussion about settling the pending disputes – whether they involve child custody, child support, alimony, and/or property distribution. Mediators, unlike judges, do not decide a case, and they cannot force either party to settle the pending issues. Rather, their job is to facilitate a discussion between the parties and help them to reach an agreement on all pending issues, without involving the court.
- A mediation session usually begins with a joint session, where each party makes a brief statement about that party's version of the case and the issues in dispute, followed by several individual break-out sessions with the mediator. These break-out sessions usually go back-and-forth until an agreement is reached – or until the parties reach an impasse.
While mediation does not occur in court, it is still important for parties who choose to mediate their disputes to have the representation of an attorney. Some of the ways in which a lawyer can help you include the following:
- Thoroughly explain the mediation process so that you can make an informed decision as to whether to pursue mediation
- Advise you regarding the law during your mediation and let you know what options may be available
- Inform you about the potential consequences of any options that are being considered
- Let you know when it may be appropriate to take a break from mediation
Contact a Los Angeles Divorce Mediation Attorney
Our experienced Los Angeles divorce mediation attorneys can assist you with resolving your divorce, child support, child custody, alimony, and marital property disputes via the divorce mediation process. It's important to understand the difference between physical and legal child custody in California.