Separations are rarely simple. Even when both partners agree that separation is the best solution for their family, it can still take an emotional toll on you. And with a complicated process ahead that may involve court hearings, custody battles, and lots of costs, you may consider divorce mediation.
But is this the right option for you, or should you take the traditional route?
What Is Divorce Mediation?
In traditional divorce litigation, each spouse hires a divorce lawyer to represent him/her and negotiate on his/her behalf. If you can't reach an agreement, you will have to go through the family court system and present your case. Your lawyer will present various documents and arguments to support your position. Witnesses or experts can also be brought to the court to testify. After each case has been presented, a family law judge will decide the best outcome regarding child custody and support, parental rights, spousal support, and the division of marital assets and debts.
On the other hand, when it comes to mediation, the couple meets with a divorce mediator and tries to find the best solutions to some of the most common divorce issues. A divorce mediator is an independent, neutral third party whose purpose is to help spouses, parents, couples who have decided to break up their union do so as amicably as possible.
One of the main benefits of divorce or family law mediation is that it's less stressful than attempting to go it alone, hire attorneys, or make court appearances. It also gives spouses more control over the process as you and your partner will decide the outcome instead of asking a judge to arrange it for you. Another benefit of mediation is that you can take your time and work through this process at your pace. Of course, the longer you take, the more expensive it will get as you will require more meetings. But the idea is that you won't be rushed and can get enough time to process everything said and discussed during the mediation sessions. And, in general, most couples get to a resolution within a few sessions.
A common misconception is that mediation only works if you and your spouse are on good terms and eager to find a fair and successful resolution to your divorce problems. But, with the help of a skilled divorce mediator, even couples with big communication problems can benefit from and succeed in mediation. However, the key is to find a good, experienced, and expert divorce mediator who can help you through this challenging moment in your life.
How Does Mediation Work?
According to California family law, mediation is mandatory when there is a dispute over the custody of a child. Child custody battles can be complicated and emotionally charged. For these reasons, California requires those seeking custody and who have not reached an agreement with their partner yet to go through mandatory mediation first. You can also go through the standard divorce process, but the idea is to find the best possible outcome and solution for the children.
Even if there are no children involved, you can still benefit from mediation to help you find a peaceful and fair resolution to the divorce process.
If you decide that mediation is right for you, the first step is an initial meeting between the spouses and the mediator. During this meeting, you will present your problems and what you hope to accomplish during this process. Some of the most common issues that can be resolved during divorce mediation include child custody and visitation, child support, spousal support, and division of assets and/or debts.
After this initial meeting, the divorce mediator will understand where the spouses are and how much work needs to be done to reach a successful outcome.
How to Find a Good Divorce Mediator
As we've mentioned before, the success of your divorce mediation depends very much on the skills and expertise of your mediator. It's not required for a divorce mediator to be a lawyer. Some have family law backgrounds, while others are retired judges. A divorce mediator can come from other backgrounds, too, such as financial, mental health, and so on. While a divorce mediator with a law background may have a good understanding of the legal process, she/he may collaborate with other related professionals to ensure more complicated items in the community property are adequately dealt with.
So, there is a lot to consider when looking for a divorce mediator. Here are some of the factors you should keep in mind.
In traditional divorce litigation, a family law judge decides what's best for your family after hearing each case. However, a good divorce mediator will first educate you and your spouse on the law and your best options and then empower you to decide what best meets your goals.
You don't want just a skilled, third-party mediator, but one who is not biased and won't let his/her views influence the mediation process. A divorce mediator should more than anything be a neutral partner looking for the best interest of both spouses and the entire family.
A divorce mediator's job is to listen, be empathetic, and help the parties reach a fair and equitable settlement. A divorce mediator will facilitate communication between the spouses and work with both to ensure a fair and equitable settlement. A divorce mediator can also help the couple understand what's at stake and develop solutions that will benefit everyone. Finally, the mediator will work with you until the couple finds an outcome that they both feel comfortable with.
A good divorce mediator can see the process from different angles and perspectives and help you find the best resolution in a calm and amicable setting.
Divorce can be quite complicated, especially when it comes to marriages with complex financial issues. A good divorce mediator has the knowledge and skills to either investigate or recommend need professionals for sophisticated matters such as investment-based assets, business valuations, tax issues, and so on. They also have a good understanding of custody issues and help them find the best solution for their children.
Emotions can run high during the divorce mediation process. If the couple hits a roadblock and doesn't seem to find an amicable solution to that problem, the mediator will take charge and recommend different courses of action.
A great divorce mediator should also be compassionate while good problem-solvers, analytical and extensive knowledge of the law, financial and custody issues. They should genuinely care about your and your family's well-being and want to help you find a solution that is right for everyone. They should have no biases, prejudices, or discrimination against you in any way.
Are You Looking for a Good Divorce Mediator?
No one gets married thinking that their happily ever after story will one day end in separation. But things don't always go as planned, and as hard as it may be, there are instances when divorce is the best option.
Suppose you've reached that point and are considering breaking up. In that case, you should find a good divorce mediator who can help you understand the law, your options, and how your decisions can influence and affect your well-being and your family.
At D'COTLEDGE MEDIATION, we like to keep things uncomplicated. We know that divorce is often a complex, emotionally charged, and stressful process, and we want to help you go through this challenging moment in your life with as much ease and grace as possible.
Victoria is a certified family law and divorce mediator with a law school education and mediator training. She has successfully mediated hundreds of family law cases, including complex arrangements with millions of dollars in assets to straightforward unions with just a few assets and debts.
If you are looking for an experienced, compassionate, and highly skilled divorce mediator, then you should get in touch with D'COTLEDGE MEDIATION.