Many couples going through divorce or working out custody matters or other family issues in California use mediator to work out an agreement rather than asking a court to decide. A mediator is an objective third party who helps you and your spouse (or other party) discuss your issues and resolve them. You and your spouse make the decisions though; mediation only facilitates your discussion and conflict resolution. If you are able to reach agreement on at least on some issues, you can commit those agreements to writing and submit them to the court.
Why Choose Mediation
The stress of going through a divorce can be extreme, even causing many people health problems such as anxiety or depression. In some cases, stress may even cause cardiovascular issues. Divorce vastly changes your life along with the lives of your spouse and children, and there are many issues to consider such as
- Child custody
- Child support
- Child visitation
- Spousal support
- Property division
- Debt division
Rather than leaving your future up to a judge who doesn’t really know you or your situation, it is best to reach an agreement with your spouse. This is not always the easiest thing to do, in part because by the time people reach the point of getting a divorce, they are often not on the best terms. Mediation is a structured way to resolve your conflicts without the emotional turmoil of litigation or hearings before a judge.
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Benefits of Mediation
- Mediation can help you avoid escalating differences and resentments. A neutral third party can keep things on track and help you to avoid arguments that might occur between some couples when they try to work things out on their own or even worse, go to trial.
- Mediation can be much cheaper than court hearings or litigation.
- Mediation has a high success rate in helping couples work through their divorce issues.
- Unlike court hearings, there is no public record of mediations.
- You retain control. You and your spouse make the ultimate decisions rather than a judge.
- If you have children, the process of mediation can help you to work out a foundation for your ongoing relationship with your spouse.
If mediation does not work for you, that does not mean you must go immediately to litigation. There are other avenues of conflict resolution. You could try a collaborative divorce, where you and your spouse are represented by attorneys who are specially trained in collaborative divorce and can help you to negotiate an agreement. Should the collaboration fail, and you must go to court, the collaboration lawyers must withdraw. You and your spouse will both then need to hire other lawyers.
How to Find a Mediator
There are a variety of ways to find a mediator.
- Ask an experienced California family law attorney. They will be familiar with trusted mediators.
- Contact your local bar association.
- Contact the family court.
- You can even check the Internet or a telephone directory, but clearly it is better to get a recommendation from a trusted source.
Can My Lawyer Represent Me in a Mediation?
Generally speaking, the couple meets with a mediator alone, though in some cases lawyers may be present. However, it is a very good idea to meet with your California family law attorney before entering mediation, so you understand your rights and what is fair for your situation.
If you are considering mediation for all or part of your family law issues, call Ghazi Law Group for a free consultation at (818) 839-6644 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can help you to understand your rights and the family law issues at stake. We serve people in divorce, child custody, support and other family law matters in Sherman Oaks, Encino, Woodland Hills, Studio City and other areas of Los Angeles County.