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When a married couple makes the difficult decision to pursue a California divorce, many will hesitate because of the potential for high costs, a high level of stress and because of the possibility that a litigated divorce can take years to complete. Fortunately, there are alternative methods emerging that provide couples with the opportunity to complete this process without incurring massive expenses and enduring prolonged periods of stress. One such method is California divorce mediation, and anyone who is considering this step should seek the input of experienced San Diego divorce mediation attorneys.
“Mediation” is a voluntary settlement process emphasizing informed decision-making and mutually acceptable agreements. The difference between mediating an entire divorce and going to divorce court is the difference between finding an agreement-based transition to a new life versus an order-based termination. It is the difference between voluntarily sharing information and responding to demands and subpoenas.
In a formal sense, “mediation” means “a process in which a neutral person or persons facilitate communication between the disputants to assist them in reaching a mutually acceptable agreement,” and “mediation consultation” means “a communication between a person and a mediator for the purpose of initiating, considering, or reconvening a mediation or retaining the mediator.”
In divorce court people file Order to Show Cause (OSC) hearings that order their spouse to come to court. In divorce court, people file statements or declarations telling the world what their spouse is a rat, snake, sleaze or cheat. And they frequently complain about sex, alcohol, drugs, and hidden money.
In divorce court, people don’t seem to realize that all of this information is a public record open to anyone who is interested, including their children as soon as they are old enough to go downtown and read the file of mom and dad.
If you and your spouse are more willing to work together in making decisions about child and spousal support, custody, and visitation rights then there are some advantages of going through divorce mediation.
Common benefits are:
“After handling 1,000 divorces in the first 10 years of my practice, I became impressed with the predictability of divorces. Within the first interview with a potential client, I could evaluate the case and accurately predict what would result at the end of the trial. After all, how hard is it to divide by two?
“The way that I handled cases changed when my senior partners retired. I began to settle the contested cases as soon as the emotions of the spouses settled down and everyone could act reasonably. It still amazed me that people would regularly spend $3,500 to $5,000 to $10,000 or more on each side to argue, confront and insult each other before coming to terms.
“A few years later, as my negotiating and deal-making skills evolved, I participated in a comprehensive mediation training program developed by Joan B. Kelly, Ph.D., and Nancy J. Foster, J.D., of the Northern California Mediation Center.
During the past decade or so, my involvement in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) has continued to develop to the point that it involves an important part of my professional practice. It is much more personally satisfying to be a peacemaker than a gladiator. I am a member of the bar associations for the states of California and Minnesota, and I serve on various Alternative Dispute Resolution Sections.”
— Attorney James Scott, Certified Family Law Specialist.
Most cases are handled for a flat fee that includes the preparation of all the court forms and other paperwork required to obtain a judgment. The fee depends upon the number of issues or subjects that we must resolve. For example, some issues are:
We provide a reasonable flat fee for these issues. That includes four (4) mediation sessions, each of two (2) hours and the preparation of all documentation for both husband and wife. It works out to less than the initial retainer is the most competent family law office for one client. Hourly mediation with simple paperwork or no paperwork is very reasonable. We usually request that each spouse contribute one-half the amount.
It’s common for spouses who are engaged in negotiations towards ending their marriage to become fixated on one issue to the point where the process can stall for a prolonged period of time. A skilled San Diego divorce mediation lawyer will help the parties resolve that particular issue or even request that the parties table that issue for the time being so that more progress can be made. Progress with regards to these sessions can depend somewhat on momentum, so if a mediator can keep the process moving in a positive fashion, it could lead to a resolution of that difficult issue later in the process.
Finally, a San Diego divorce mediation lawyer from Scott Family Law who understands how to see this process through to completion will also make sure that of the items that must be clearly resolved under California law are properly handled between the parties.
This is a critical step in the process because any problems that arise with proper property division or other issues that deal with child custody, child visitation, child support or spousal support could lead to the court not approving the final marital settlement agreement. Contact our experienced San Diego divorce lawyers to you get you started today.