Mediation/Alternative Dispute Resolution

Divorce Mediation in the San Fernando Valley

The Benefits of Alternative Dispute Resolution

Divorce can cause a lot of stress and unnecessary frustration. Emotions run high in any family law case and being forced to distribute property and asked to restart a life that you invested so much time and energy into can create a lot of complications. One of the best options is to mediate. Divorce mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) and may not be an option for every divorcing couple. Those who are on speaking or "good terms" and can agree on the majority of their divisions and terms of separation may benefit from mediation.

Considering mediation? Contact Cutter & Lax Attorneys at Law today! Attorney Matthew Lax is board certified in family law by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization.

Mediation vs. Litigation

In deciding to mediate your divorce, you will be able to retain control of the majority of the divorce process and greatly reduce legal fees. Mediation also allows you the opportunity to control most aspects of the divorce. Instead of dueling out finances and property division with two separate attorneys, couples can decide to mediate their divorces and be in control of their outcomes. You can almost completely avoid court if you work with an experienced divorce mediator.

The following are just a few of the main advantages of mediation versus litigation:

  • Cost-effective
  • Less time consuming
  • More innovative and creative agreements
  • Divorce terms that work for both spouses
  • Preserve your relationship with your spouse
  • Less harmful to any children involved
  • Arrive at agreements on your own terms

Another important thing to remember about divorce mediation is that not only can assets and property division be mediated, but you can also discuss custody and support in detail. Child custody and visitation will be mediated and kept fair, with the best interests of the child and the spouse kept in mind. By using mediation instead of court trials, you can control the outcome of your case and be satisfied with the final divorce decree, reducing the risk of having to make modifications in the future. It is important to work with Cutter & Lax Attorneys at Law if you are considering divorce and mediation as an option.

Divorce Mediation in Uncontested Divorces

The majority of divorces in California are uncontested, meaning the parties agree on all divorce terms outside of the courtroom. Divorce mediation is an effective tool in carrying out an uncontested divorce. As compared to litigation in court, mediation may be less expensive and have the added benefit of being less stressful and emotionally challenging for both parties. Particularly when children are involved, mediation can help avoid undue stress and emotional trauma that a courtroom divorce can cause.

Our Alternative Dispute Resolution Services

Alternative dispute resolution is becoming more and more common. Rather than battle over every small detail, racking up legal fees and causing a great deal of emotional distress, married couples seeking to dissolve their marriages are turning to divorce mediation as a means of resolving their issues. Even an amicable divorce it is likely to face confusion or disagreement regarding specific terms. After all, these are delicate subjects that are often very emotionally charged. Divorce mediation gives a family the chance at a successful agreement without the expense and time associated with a contested divorce in family court.

We offer a free consultation to discuss your particular matter and determine what services we can provide to assist you. We can provide the following:

  • Reviewing your case to make an accurate assessment of whether you're a good candidate for mediation.
  • Helping you better understand the mediation process, as well as all the issues that may arise.
  • Representing your interests through mediation to help ensure your rights are protected.
  • Reviewing the written agreement or settlement that results from mediation to ensure that it is truly beneficial and that your interests are protected.
  • Acting as a mediator for your divorce mediation as an entirely neutral party.

California Divorce Mediation Process

Because divorce mediation focuses on resolution rather than opposition, the parties involved most often find they are happier with the results. In a court case, the spouses are fighting against one another to try to get a ruling in their favor. Once the judge makes a ruling, spouses must accept that as the terms of their divorce. In the mediation process, however, the spouses work together to create terms that are usually more flexible and creative than those reached in family court.

The divorce mediation process involves resolving a number of serious issues, including:

The mediator that oversees the process will be a neutral third party who will assist both parties in coming to an agreement about all of the above issues, while working to help ensure the agreements are in the best interests of the children. The mediation process itself will usually consist of multiple sessions. During each session the mediator will take detailed notes regarding particular agreements that are reached. Upon reaching agreements, a written agreement will be drawn up to solidify and legalize the divorce terms. Once this document is signed, it will be sent to the court for approval by a judge. This will conclude the mediation process and the terms of the agreement can then be enforced.

Custody Mediation

In California's family court system, child custody mediation is a mandatory process for those going through divorce or legal separation. According to California's Supreme Court, Family Code Section 3170, parents who are petitioning for, applying for, or seeking modifications in child support or child custody must submit to court ordered mediation of those issues. As a result, most people see mediation as an impersonal, court ordered mandate. In reality, custody mediation is just the opposite. Child custody mediation provides parents with the opportunity to resolve once conflicting issues confidentially, with the help of a professional mediator.

Expert custody mediators work with families to accomplish the following goals:

  • Help you make a parenting plan
  • Help you make a parenting plan that is of the best interest of the child and allows the child to spend quality time with both parents
  • Help you deal with any feelings of anger, hostility, or resentment

Millions of children across the nation are facing the repercussions of turbulent divorces. Just as parents may be angry or upset with their current marital situation, children can be resentful and confused about the changes and conflicts that they are experiencing secondhand. What's more, parents could feel guilty or anxious when they see their child struggling. Child custody mediation gives parents a chance to dissolve the conflicts that have been experienced during their separation, or heal the emotional wounds that could have been unintentionally inflicted on their children during the divorce process.

Divorce Mediation FAQ

What is mediation?

Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution which involves a neutral third party (a mediator) assisting two parties in coming to an agreement about a particular legal matter. Mediation may apply to a number of areas of law, including business disputes, employment matters, civil disputes, and divorce.

What are some of the benefits of divorce mediation?

Divorce mediation most often allows for a less expensive and more efficient process. Going to court is time consuming and expensive and can cause a great deal of emotional trauma to all parties involved, particularly children. Divorce mediation allows for spouses to come to an agreement in a private setting. Spouses are able to be more creative in their agreements, as well, rather than simply complying with a court-ordered judgment.

How can a divorce mediation attorney help me?

Even in divorce mediation proceedings, your future may be at risk. You need an attorney on your side to represent your interests and help ensure you and your family are well-protected by whatever agreements you and your spouse come to. In addition to understanding the legal procedure involved with a divorce or legal separation, your attorney should take the time to understand your unique situation in order to effectively assist.

Your attorney can also inform you of their rights and coach you through the process. Your attorney will also draw up the necessary divorce paperwork once the mediation process is complete.

What is an uncontested divorce?

An uncontested divorce is one where both spouses reach an agreement stays out of the courtroom.

What is a contested divorce?

Spouses cannot always agree on all the terms of their divorce. In these situations, the case would need to go to court to be resolved. This is what is referred to as a contested divorce and can be extremely lengthy.

Does mediation gives one spouse an advantage to dominate the other spouse?

During mediation, both spouses are given a fair advantage. A good divorce mediator will strive to keep the balance equal between spouses so both of their wishes and concerns are addressed.

Will mediation will make my divorce take longer?

Divorce mediation almost always is faster and easier than a contested divorce in court. It is also less expensive because it is resolved in less time and therefore less legal counsel is required. Although an agreement will need to be reached, the spouses will have the benefit of avoiding the wait for a court date.

Does mediation only work when spouses are on agreeable terms?

Although a divorce mediation will certainly be easier when spouses are on amicable terms or have already agreed upon certain key issues, this is not necessary to reach a successful divorce agreement outside of court. Mediation is a form of ADR, which involves sorting out any disagreements and helping spouses work together in a divorce.

Contact a San Fernando Valley Mediator

Divorce or family issues are sensitive topics, and inviting someone else into these issues could seem invasive and uncomfortable. If you are considering mediation, Cutter & Lax Attorneys at Law can help. Our legal team stands by your side during the process. We can offer neutral, practical, and beneficial legal guidance that is specific to your custody mediation.

If you have questions or concerns about your particular situation and how working with a dedicated San Fernando Valley divorce mediator can help your case, contact our team today!

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** The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.