The Divorce Mediation Process
Does the Divorce Mediation Process Work?
Divorce can be a stressful and expensive process, especially in California. Issues over the division of assets, child custody and child support are often added to the already difficult divorce process, and these are only a few of the emotional and financial stresses that you will experience throughout this process. If you are going through the early stages of a difficult divorce, you should strongly consider divorce mediation. Divorce mediation can reduce the time and money otherwise spent in a traditional court divorce litigation dramatically. The divorce mediation process allows you to work out the specifications of your divorce with the other party while a neutral third party regulates the process, rather than the court deciding the fate of your divorce.
In order to get the best possible outcome, it is essential that you seek an experienced divorce mediator with the proper knowledge in this area. In addition, each party will need a divorce attorney on their side. An experienced family law mediation attorney can properly prepare and evaluate your documents that are needed for the process, to ensure that the conditions of the divorce are in your favor. With decades of experience in this area, Wallin and Klarich can help you receive the best possible outcome in your favor during the mediation process. Whether you are seeking mediation services or an experienced family law attorney to assist you, Wallin and Klarich has the knowledge and experience to get the job done. Do not hesitate to call us today, and we encourage you to read on to learn more about the mediation process.
What is Divorce Mediation?
Divorce mediation is a process that seeks to identify the resources of the parties, the means required to make the transition to separate lives, and discovery of creative ideas to find practical solutions. This is different than the Family Court Services mediation process. When there are issues of child custody and visitation in your family law case, the court will order you to attend Family Court Services mediation[i], where you will not be allowed to have an attorney present.
The ultimate goal of the divorce mediation process is to produce an agreement that resolves all of the issues arising in a divorce. Prior to attending your divorce mediation, your mediation lawyer will explain how the mediation process works.
Below is a brief overview of the divorce mediation process:
Initial Appointment of the Mediation Process
At the outset of your initial appointment of the mediation process, the mediator will provide you with a written agreement. This agreement will generally indicate that you are agreeing to discuss the sensitive and confidential details of your divorce case with the mediator while your spouse is present. It is important that you have your own experienced family law mediation attorney on your side to review this agreement to make sure that your rights are protected. After your mediation attorney has evaluated the agreement, you and your spouse will sign the agreement.
You and your spouse will proceed by discussing your general goals and what you intend to accomplish at the end of your divorce. The mediator will assign certain tasks at this initial meeting to each of you, such as bringing in certain documentation for the next meeting.
This initial meeting of the mediation process is very important, as it sets the tone for the negotiations and any subsequent appointments that you will have with the mediator. An experienced family law attorney will be able to evaluate the body language of the parties at the initial appointment to determine just how likely it is that this case can be settled out of court. Your attorney will also help you place yourself in a favorable bargaining position so that you can achieve a full agreement at later appointments.
A series of subsequent appointments are then conducted. Most of the appointments will consist of a joint session involving both spouses and the mediator. But sometimes, the mediator may have individual meetings with just you or your spouse. However, you may, and should, attend these appointments with an experienced divorce mediation attorney. An experienced attorney will ensure that you do not inadvertently agree to anything that you do not want during the mediation process.
The number of necessary subsequent appointments will depend entirely on the number of issues that you and your spouse need to negotiate and the degree that you are both willing to compromise. If a case is more difficult, involving many different types of family law issues, it may take a few appointments to come to a full agreement. It is important to remember that issues of child custody and visitation are particularly sensitive matters and it can be very difficult to come to an agreement when emotions are running high.
As with the initial appointment of the mediation process, the mediator may give you more “homework” assignments, asking you to fill out documents or to bring documents in to the next appointment. Your attorney will be able to help you fill out these documents and prepare you for your next appointment so that there are as few unexpected surprises as possible.
Mediation Process Agreement
At each session during the mediation process, your mediator will make detailed notes of any agreements that may be reached by you and your spouse. When all the issues are adequately resolved as a result of the mediation sessions, your mediator will draft a settlement agreement summarizing the agreements that have been made.
If you are not already represented by a mediation lawyer, the mediator will recommend that both you and your spouse review the agreement with your own attorney before signing it. You absolutely should not sign any agreement without first consulting an experienced family law mediation attorney. If you opt to not have an attorney review your settlement agreement and are unhappy with the agreement in the future, you may not be able to do anything about changing the agreement. A skilled family law mediation attorney at Wallin & Klarich will make sure that you know your rights before agreeing to anything, so that you can avoid potential litigation in the future.
Once signed, the document is sent to court for approval by the judge. Once the judge signs your stipulated agreement, everything contained in your agreement becomes court orders. You must follow these court orders, or you could face criminal and civil penalties.
If you and the other party cannot come to an agreement, or can only agree on some of the issues in your divorce, then all of the issues that you do not agree on will have to be litigated before a family law court. The issues involved with litigating divorce cases are very complex. Thus, it is important that you hire an experienced family law trial attorney to ensure that the proper evidence is produced at trial, to convince the family law judge to rule in your favor.
Rely on the Experience and Knowledge of Wallin & Klarich
As you can see, the divorce mediation process can be very complex. Whether you need an attorney to act as the neutral mediator or you need an experienced family law attorney to represent you through your divorce mediation, you can rely on the experience and knowledge of the divorce mediation attorneys at Wallin & Klarich. With over 30 years of experience successfully helping out clients obtain favorable results through divorce mediation, Wallin & Klarich has the experience and knowledge that you need to obtain the best possible outcome in your case.
With offices located in Orange County, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Torrance, West Covina, Sherman Oaks, San Bernardino, Ventura, and Victorville, Wallin & Klarich will always be available to you wherever you happen to live.
To speak with a family law attorney at Wallin & Klarich today, please call us at (888) 749-7428. We will be there when you call.
[i] Information on Family Court Services mediation retrieved from http://www.lasuperiorcourt.org/familylaw/ui/mediation.aspx