Divorce brings a sense of dread and helplessness, irrespective of who’s thinking about it. A divorce mediation attorney can spare you the multiple court visits and avoid having your personal life put on the spot for strangers to judge. This can make even the toughest of people feel vulnerable but that does not stop people from filing for divorce. Why? Because sometimes suffering in front of strangers for a while is still better than coming home to a marriage without love.
However, not all divorces have to be ugly and end up with the ex-spouses swearing never to see each other’s faces again. This usually happens in a contested divorce and you can avoid that by choosing to take the mediation route.
Riverside divorce attorney Heath L. Baker is a seasoned family lawyer experienced in mediation and other alternative dispute resolution processes for divorcing spouses. Our dedicated team is ready to assist you in coming to an agreement with your spouse over contentious matters, so you can both move on to the next chapter of your lives.
What Is Divorce Mediation in California?
In California, divorce mediation is a process where a divorcing couple hires and sits down with a trained and experienced neutral attorney. This attorney must have a mastery of California state laws and conflict resolution, particularly in mediating divorces.
In their role as mediator, the neutral attorney guides the couple through the process of discussing and coming to an agreement regarding various aspects of their divorce. The mediator does not make decisions for you. Rather, they act as the facilitator of your divorce settlement.
Instead of a court in front of a judge, mediation takes place anywhere the two parties are comfortable. The mediator is a hired attorney, and both spouses have a say in picking the divorce mediation lawyer for the process.
Divorce mediation is unmatched when it comes to solving marital issues and enabling spouses to put aside their differences and part on friendly terms. Compared to how divorces usually end, separating through mediation can save you from heartbreak and years of mental struggles. As Riverside, California divorce mediation attorneys, we see people suffer every day and witness the stark contrast between separation through the two methods. A few couples even benefit from mediation as it sometimes provides them the counseling they need to sort out their feelings and understand their spouse’s perspective.
Benefits of a Mediated Divorce In Riverside
A mediated divorce is a worthwhile consideration for divorcing couples as it offers several benefits:
- Divorce mediation is a cost-effective solution for resolving disagreements over the terms of a divorce.
- Divorce mediation is confidential, so there are no public records of the mediation sessions.
- Mediation enables couples to come to an agreement based on their individual perceptions of what is fair and just without the need to be subjected to rigid legal principles.
- The divorcing couple has control over the process.
- Mediation can help conflicted or clashing couples communicate better and avoid conflicts as a divorced couple in the future.
However, if you experienced domestic violence during your marriage, mediated divorce is not recommended. Ultimately, though, the decision is in your hands, and you can always have your own attorney advise or represent you during mediation.
For a divorce mediation to be successful, both parties need to be willing to negotiate and open to the possibility of compromising over certain terms.
The Role of the Mediator
The divorce mediator is a specially trained and highly experienced neutral third party skilled in the art of dispute resolution. Their task is to guide the divorcing couple in meaningful conversation about the issues that need to be covered to reduce stress, avoid finger-pointing, and minimize the drama that comes with divorce.
The divorce mediator will keep you and your spouse on track and can provide suggestions on how you can both resolve certain contentious issues. The divorce mediator also performs the following tasks:
- Facilitates mediation discussions by ensuring either party is given opportunities to speak without interruption
- Addresses the parties to restate, clarify, or explain certain points raised when needed
- Asks questions to clarify any points raised during a discussion
- Provides the divorcing couple with relevant information about the legal system
- Discusses how issues in the divorce may be viewed by legal experts, such as lawyers and judges
- Guides discussions on child or spousal support
- Raises alternatives or options to resolve issues
- Refers the divorcing couple to third-party experts for related services whenever necessary
How Divorce Mediation Works In Riverside
Mediated divorce requires spouses to approach their divorce collaboratively with the aid of a mediator. During mediation, they need to cover various terms of the divorce, particularly those issues that they have difficulty agreeing upon, such as the following:
- Child custody and visitation
- Child support and maintenance
- Spousal support
- Division of assets and liabilities
By taking a collaborative approach and allowing the mediator to do their job, divorcing couples can resolve their disputes without leaving their decisions in the hands of a judge.
However, do not expect a quick outcome, especially in the beginning. You will need to iron out your differences first and learn to trust each other. You also need to believe in your mutual commitment to work things out amicably.
The Divorce Mediation Process
Divorce through mediation is unarguably the simplest way for a couple to get separated. It does not last as long as divorces do and it spares most of the troubles that also come with the latter. If you think mediation is the way for you, then here’s what you can look forward to:
Talking About Mediation With Your Partner
If you’re on good terms with your spouse but have both agreed upon divorce, you can think about bringing up the topic of mediation with them. In case the spouse is filing for divorce in court but you’re ready to settle differences with them through mediation, it still wouldn’t hurt to propose the idea. Talk to them about its benefits and how it will save you months of trouble. For mediation to start, both parties need to provide their assent.
Hire a Mediation Attorney
There is no lack of mediation attorneys in Riverside, California. You’re one Google search away from finding hundreds of attorneys ready to take up the charge of your case. However, will they all be good? How your mediation ends depends on the quality of the attorney you hire as much as it depends on you and your spouse. The best course of action is to find someone recommended by word of mouth or an attorney who has a track record of successful mediation cases. You should also make sure that your spouse agrees with your choice and that the mediator will be unbiased in their responsibility.
Decide a Place and Time
Mediations do not take place in the courtroom. Instead of doing it at home, which is filled with personal memories, it is best to pick a neutral location for the procedure to begin. You can also choose the mediation attorneys office or any other private place that all parties find suitable.
Factors to Discuss
Every marriage is different and so is every matter that needs to be discussed in a mediation process. Instead of thinking on the fly, it is better to have a list of things to discuss ready. It saves time and ensures that nothing of importance is left out.
Divorces are tough but mediation can help you soothe the differences and start your new life in good terms. If you’re curious to know more about the same, you can get in touch with us.
Preparing for Divorce Mediation
Divorce mediation is now a popular option among couples who want to benefit from its cost and time-effectiveness. Also, some couples find reasonable discussions and personal negotiations to be a more comfortable way of resolving differences, rather than having their situations discussed by strangers in court.
However, it’s important for you to always come prepared to your mediation sessions to ensure you have a fruitful, meaningful discussion. Below are some things you can do as part of your preparation:
- Read up or conduct a research on family laws and statutes, especially ones that can impact the issues to be discussed during mediation.
- Make a list of your comments, questions, concerns, or suggestions relevant to the mediation agenda.
- If you have kids, prepare a parenting or visitation plan for your spouse’s review.
- Ask your attorney for help in preparing for your mediation session.
- Be open-minded and anticipate the items your spouse may raise during the session.
By coming to each mediation session prepared, not only will you be able to raise issues that are important to you, but you will also be helping cover all aspects of your divorce.
Difference Between Divorce and Mediation
Though both the processes are meant for the separation of a couple, their approach and the final results vary.
- A stark contrast is obvious in the way the two are conducted. Divorces are presided over by a judge who leads the contested proceeding and asks questions. On the other hand, mediation’s are overseen by a mediator, but they do not ‘lead’ the process. A mediator simply clears a path for communication and lets the two spouses take the lead.
- Though both the judges and mediators are unbiased overseers of the two procedures, the judge ultimately has to make a decision. On the other hand, a mediator is not the final authority in a mediation. How the latter process ends, depends completely on how the spouses want it to end.
- There are accusations involved in a divorce. Both parties contend points like domestic abuse and adultery and depending on whose contentions are more convincing, the judge makes a decision. The decision also includes matters like child support, custody, alimony, and division of assets. In mediation, a discussion takes place between the two parties on the above mentioned topics. The final decision is something that the couple together agrees upon.
- In a divorce, one party usually has more to lose than the other. Sometimes, both end up losing when they don’t get the decision they were hoping for. This means there is no guarantee whether a divorce will end up in your favor because it depends on the merits of your case and how the judge perceives it. In mediation, no one loses because the two people who have an interest have an equal say in the final decision.
- Divorces take a mental, physical and financial toll on the couple. In some cases, the mental trauma is so severe that it takes a person years to cope with the low self-esteem caused by the divorce. Sometimes, even the financial burden takes years to be lifted off the shoulders of one party. Contrarily, mediations are amicable and end only when the spouses are satisfied with the result. As opposed to the screaming matches in a courtroom where accusations fly left and right, mediation also allows them an opportunity to talk like mature adults. This is something divorces rarely help with.
After Working With A Divorce Mediation Attorney, What Next?
A successful mediated divorce should ideally lead to the fruitful resolution of all the terms of your divorce, as well as the divorce itself. If, for example, certain issues remain unresolved, you have the option to take those matters to court to be decided upon by a judge.
For matters concerning mediated divorce, Heath Baker Law is your go-to Riverside divorce mediation attorney. Please get in touch with us to discuss your next step.