A divorce is a nerve-racking life event. Not only are you dealing with the breakdown of your relationship, but you’re also anxious about money and the conflict that the judicial process brings. You want an alternative to fighting your divorce in court. Divorce mediation may be the solution for you.
Divorce mediation allows you and your spouse to settle the terms of your divorce with minimal judicial interference. However, you may not understand divorce mediation or whether it’s right for you and your spouse. You need an experienced Woodland mediation lawyer to help you understand divorce mediation in California and whether it’s right for you. Contact us today!
Our Divorce Mediation Practice
Pakpour Banks LLP is a highly experienced Woodland mediation law firm. We’ve represented numerous spouses in their divorce mediations so they can resolve issues such as child custody and property division with minimal conflict and expense. We are well-equipped to help resolve your divorce through mediation so you and your spouse can move on with your lives and heal.
What Is Divorce Mediation?
Mediation is a way to resolve your conflict outside of court. In divorce mediation, both spouses meet with a neutral third party, called a mediator, to negotiate and hopefully settle the terms of their divorce. The mediator tries to help them find a middle ground to settle the divorce without going to court or trial.
If the parties agree, the spouses will sign a marital settlement agreement. They’ll still have to file a divorce and the settlement agreement in court to get an official divorce decree. With an agreement, the court simply reviews your agreement and signs off on the divorce unless there are significant problems with the paperwork or the agreed-upon terms (e.g., if the terms violate the law or public policy).
What Is the Difference Between a Mediator and a Mediation Attorney?
A divorce mediator is an independent, neutral third party who tries to facilitate an agreement between the spouses. They help the spouses find a middle ground and settle their differences. Although a mediator may be an attorney, they are not functioning as counsel in this setting. Therefore, they cannot give either of the spouses legal advice.
A divorce mediation attorney, however, is different. All parties to a mediation can hire lawyers to represent their specific interests throughout the mediation process. They can advise and help you strategize. All of your conversations with your attorney will remain strictly confidential. Plus, if the parties reach a settlement, a mediation lawyer will review the written document to ensure that it properly reflects the agreed-upon terms. They will also go over the agreement with you before you sign it.
The Benefits of Divorce Mediation
Usually, when someone files for a divorce, the spouses go to multiple court dates, their attorneys argue, and if they don’t resolve the case, they go to trial. This court process can take a lot of time and money. Mediation eases both of these concerns.
Divorce mediation has many benefits.
- Flexibility: There are far fewer rules for mediation than for a court procedure, allowing the parties to move towards an equitable solution rather than focusing on the process.
- Cost-effective: Mediation keeps you out of court, so you won’t have to worry about taking a lot of time off work or paying the significant attorney’s fees that accompany a trial.
- Confidential: Typically, all parties to a mediation and the mediator agree to keep all mediation-related communications confidential.
- Less stress: Because of the flexibility and minimal court intervention, mediation can be far more relaxed and less stressful for all involved.
Not all cases are suitable for mediation. For example, if you’ve experienced abuse or domestic violence, mediation may not be the right process for you. You should speak with a Woodland mediation lawyer from our office to determine your best course of action for a safe and successful divorce.
Issues Addressed During a Divorce Mediation
The spouses can use mediation to address and resolve every issue involved in a divorce. These issues include the following:
- How to divide the community property;
- Whether one spouse will pay spousal support;
- How to allocate custody of any minor children;
- How to create a parenting plan; and
- Whether either party will pay child support.
Sometimes, spouses can agree on certain aspects of the divorce yet need a mediator to help them to resolve other issues. For example, spouses may agree on child custody and support but disagree on how to divide marital property. Mediation may help them resolve that specific issue.
What Happens if Mediation Doesn’t Resolve the Divorce?
If the parties cannot reach an agreement at the end of the mediation, the divorce can proceed through the regular court process. The mediator does not decide on issues if the parties don’t agree. Only a judge can decide on disputed divorce terms after a trial.
Does a Court Ever Order Mediation?
Even when a divorce is filed and litigated through the traditional court process, a court may order mediation to help the parties avoid trial. The parties can request mediation anytime during the court process if they believe it will help them settle the divorce.
Additionally, there are times when a court is legally required to order divorce mediation. For example, a California court must order mediation if the spouses have minor children yet cannot agree on custody or a parenting plan.
Do I Need a Woodland Divorce Mediation Attorney?
Although you’re not legally required to hire an attorney, most people benefit from representation during a mediation. A lawyer can help you understand the mediation process and can help you advocate effectively for your position. If you and your spouse reach an agreement, they’ll make sure the paperwork accurately records that agreement, and they can explain all of the legal jargon.
Having a lawyer on your side means that you have a confidential ear to properly advise you on what is and is not relevant. Plus, when you tell them your whole truth, they’ll be able to advocate for you and help you manage any adversities. And, if your mediation fails, your attorney will be able to fight for you in the traditional divorce court process.
Trust Our Experienced Woodland Divorce Mediation Lawyers to Help You
Divorce mediation can be challenging, especially if you’re stressed or overwhelmed. You need a Woodland mediation lawyer who will guide you through the divorce mediation process and lend an understanding ear when needed. The advocates at Pakpour Banks LLP are specially trained and experienced California divorce mediation attorneys. We can help you confidently navigate this difficult time, so your rights and interests are protected. Contact us today.