Divorce can be a devastating emotional process, regardless whether it is contested or uncontested. Once divorce papers are served, the lives of family members will irrevocably change. It is typically accompanied by harsh judgments and the need for a time to grieve. Two key choices the participants can make will significantly minimize the emotional damage and substantially reduce the trauma to the individuals and the family.
The first is the choice to use a divorce mediator who will help you settle the issues in a manner that provides the clients with privacy, safety and economy, compared with traditional litigation. The second is that the mediator becomes your collective and individual partner in guiding you through the myriad of issues and considerations that need to be worked through to reach a successful resolution. This can include accountants, mental health professionals, and other sources of information necessary for you to reach your best mutually agreeable result.
When it comes to addressing the important issue of your children, a professional family law mediator will help the parties work out mutually-agreeable co-parenting plans that are built around the needs of the children to have contact with each parent. The data from mental health professionals demonstrates unequivocally that the most damaging thing for children is conflict between mom and dad. A professional mediator helps the parties work through difficult differences of opinion that many parents have in order to reach an agreement that accomplishes the goal of reducing conflict between the parents. What the law refers to as “custody”, the phrase parenting rights and responsibilities more accurately describes what is one of, if not the most important issue to address for divorcing parents.
How We Will Support You Towards In the Transition to Your Post-Divorce Life
Because mediation changes the client-experience from confrontational to collaborative, the mediator is able to support each party in working towards a successful resolution. That begins with the initial phase of the process by providing you with a checklist that helps you prepare for the mediation sessions themselves. Included in this service is providing you with emotional support as well as informational and practical support.
Our checklist will provide you with a greater understanding of each and every step in the process, keeping in mind that nothing is binding until you are completely satisfied that what you have agreed upon is what you want the finished agreement to be. More specifically, we focus on supporting both you and your soon to be former spouse during the discovery process of all necessary and important documents that can impact the choices you must make. These documents would typically include: all financial records (including separate bank accounts, joint bank accounts, savings accounts, investment accounts, credit reports, tax returns, retirement accounts, etc.), mortgage statements, medical bills, and other documents affecting your decision-making process and your financial future.
Why Is Preparing for Divorce Mediation So Important?
One of the most important aspects of our mediation process is the fact that you do not need to come in prepared to negotiate. Mediation is the place where you get prepared to negotiate. With a thorough analysis of all the financial information of the marriage, coupled with the development of a full range of your negotiation options, the mediation process is a private space within which divorcing individuals can safely work through preparing themselves to negotiate capably and competently. Unlike traditional attorney-represented litigation, mediation clients are educated about their financial circumstances which helps prepare them for their transition into their new life.
Working through the issues in a divorce provides a client with a safe space to acquire the necessary information for decision-making on the most important issues in your life. It gives you access to settlement possibilities that are considered without being sabotaged by emotions. Divorce is an emotionally challenging experience. What is also true is that emotional decisions are rarely the best decisions in the long run. A skilled mediator recognizes the emotions that clients are experiencing and helps them manage the emotions and make thoughtful, strategic decisions about how those issues are resolved. Consider the following ways that working together in mediation can benefit you:
The great majority of our clients reside within the jurisdiction of the Los Angeles County Superior Court System. Within that system, we have the capacity to keep your matters as private as possible in addition to the elements of confidentiality for the mediation process that CA Family Law recognizes and supports.
How to Tell If Your Divorce Falls Under California Family Law
The State of California has jurisdiction over a divorce if one of the parties has resided in CA for a minimum of six months and three months in the County in which the action is filed.
If these basic requirements are met, here are some key considerations to note:
Behaviors that used to be the reason for a divorce may still be relevant considerations in questions relating to matters of the minor children, including custody or parenting decisions.
Preparing to Mediate The Division of Property in a California Divorce
In mediation, you can expect the following process for making decisions on the division of the assets of the marriage. The gathering of a list of all the assets and liabilities, the development of detailed information about these assets and liabilities that are critical to any decisions you will make, and the ability to obtain information from outside the process, such as accountants, financial planners, and mental health professionals, in order to make sure that you have all the information needed to make consenting and informed decisions.
What About Mediating Divorce Debts and Liabilities?
Understandably, the process of dividing debts and liabilities is mentally and emotionally taxing. After all, whether you’re a stay-at-home parent worried about losing the family home or the sole breadwinner that feels entitled to your hard work, there is an element of fear that you may lose your items in this process. Fortunately, divorce mediators are trained to handle this division by connecting you with the right experts to understand what you are entitled to and what you may have to let go of. The role of your divorce mediator is essential as they will guide you towards reaching an amicable and mutually beneficial compromise with your spouse.
Most divorce mediators will begin looking at the below:
Proving Income in a California Divorce: Essential Documents
Especially during the pandemic, many of us have been impacted in one way or the other. This may include being let go from a job, starting a new job, or even stepping away from careers to support children and households. While this may be a turbulent time, it is critical that you prepare the following documents to help provide an accurate picture of your income:
Parents: Essential Documents for Your Child Custody Matters
Divorce is already hard, but it is even harder on you as a parent. Not only are you dividing your assets, debts, and liabilities, but you are now also having to manage parenting time. Many couples who undergo divorce have a fear of family courts, but it is important for you and your spouse to focus on completing the evolutionof your family. Divorce mediators are equipped to foster healthy communication, in turn reducing potential conflict between you and your spouse and thus, padding the trauma divorce may have on your children.
Your divorce mediator will assist you in reaching a peaceful transition towards collaborative co-parenting, and to speed up the process, you should come prepared with a working understanding of the following:
Bonus Documents to Have Before Divorce Mediation
Choosing Your Private Divorce Mediator
The divorce process will be less complicated and even less lonely when you partner up with a private divorce mediator. However, not all divorce mediators are the same, and these are the key qualities you should look for when choosing which divorce mediator to work with.
Beginning The Private Divorce Mediation Process
Your private divorce mediation process typically begins with a mediation consultation at no charge. This consultation is an opportunity for your family to learn more about the mediation process as well as the divorce mediator you may choose to move forward with. In addition, this consultation will allow me to gain an understanding of your family’s concerns and gain an overview of your family’s financial and legal situation.
During the consultation, you will receive answers to the questions you may have about both the mediation and the divorce process. If you choose to take your consultation with me, I will also provide you with a list of documents to prepare. This consultation will help build the foundation for your family as well as myself to ensure efficiency and effectiveness when we embark on your family’s mediation process.
Why Divorce Mediation Instead of Traditional Litigated Divorce?
On one hand, the traditional litigated divorce process include attorneys are hired on an hourly basis to go to court, execute the discovery phase, file court documents, as well as hire any relevant experts. On the other hand, the divorce mediation process has a single mediator doing the heavy lifting and coordinating experts such as appraisers or accountants only when necessary.
Compared to traditional litigated divorce, divorce mediation is much more economical and will come up to approximately 10%-20% of traditional litigated divorce. This is because divorce mediation focuses on cooperation, and cases are typically settled outside of court. By doing so, the divorce reaches fruition without any court appearances. Hence, attorney services can be used to complement divorce mediation on an as needed basis should you require legal advice.
Benefits Of Working With Attorneys
While some couples feel like they have a good grasp of the divorce process, others choose to have attorneys represent them from start to finish. There are perks of doing so, as attorneys can directly advise you on any specific legal matters. Hence, on occasion, it is recommended to engage consulting attorneys should you wish to gain a deeper legal understanding of the divorce process. However, if preserving your finances are of top priority, it is more economical to engage an attorney should the need arise. For instance, each party could have their respective attorney review the proposed settlement agreement prior to signing.
While the divorce process can be emotionally and physically taxing, you can make this process smoother through proper preparation and engaging a seasoned divorce mediator. Ultimately, divorce mediators, such as I, are here to help you during this trying time. I sincerely hope that this article proved educational for kicking off your journey.
Stephen Erickson expresses his concern of mediation not being well defined and how it is being confused with the legal or therapeutic process.By Stephen Erickson