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Law Offices of Benita Ventresca408-395-8822
20 S. Santa Cruz Ave., Suite 212, Los Gatos, CA 95030
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Mediation and Litigation
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California divorce lawyer, California family law attorneyAs parents, we try to do everything in our power to protect our children. In California state law, the determination of custody and visitation schedule revolves solely on what is in the best interest of the child. However, past a certain age, the child begins to have a significant amount more weight in the decision-making process, especially when it comes to child custody and visitation.

When the Child Decides

As parents, we know what is best for our children. However, there comes the point in their life when they begin to have wants, needs, and opinions that may differ from ours. It is a part of the growing up process, and our children will inevitably reach this point as we did with our parents. That age is different for each person, so who determines at what age this is an age appropriate decision? A few years ago, California resolved the dispute by setting guidelines for which to follow. According to California Family Code 3042, consideration will be given to the preferences of the child if:


California family law attorney, California mediation lawyerMany children grow up envisioning their wedding day, dressed up as a prince or princess and marrying the person of their dreams. With today’s family dynamics coupled with a high divorce rate, this dream shatters, and many are left in an alternate situation. Perhaps they find their soulmate, the person with whom they are intended to travel through life. However, a growing number of couples choose to cohabitate rather than legally tie the knot. A common reasoning for choosing to remain legally separate is that “there is no need if what we have is good; marriage is just a piece of paper.” However, that “piece of paper” can make life easier down the road and provide protection because eventually, all good love stories come to an end, be it through natural death or separation. If your ending to a long-term relationship is a breakup, what are your options for property division or child custody? One great solution is divorce mediation.

A House Divided

Those who choose to cohabitate in California are not under any protection from a common law marriage that couples in other states enjoy. California has no such laws; if you never made it legal, the union never existed. With that said, no one enters into a committed long-term relationship knowing or even hoping that it will fail. If we all were able to see into the future, perhaps we would choose the marriage option to make a separation easier to navigate under the divorce laws of the state. Since divorce litigation is not an option, there are alternatives to assist splitting couples who were never married. One such example is mediation. This solution supports those who wish to guide their post-relationship agreement without the inclusion of a judge. Together, with the assistance of a mediator, you and your now ex can work out a legal agreement for all of the pieces of your lives together. Benefits of mediation include:


Posted on in Mediation

California mediation attorney, California divorce lawyerUnless you and your spouse experienced a brief marriage, have no children and no joint property, divorce litigation is not inexpensive. Even in an uncontested divorce, a couple must consider the cost of the filing fees as well as court costs. In an uncontested divorce where both parties approve the requests made in the divorce petition, court time may not be necessary, and the divorce should be official after six months. However, in instances where splitting spouses cannot agree upon the petition, the court gets involved which can increase the costs. Many seeking divorce search for a lower cost option leading a growing portion of the population choosing divorce mediation.

The Financial Truth of Divorce Litigation

In most scenarios of divorce litigation, there is the basic cost of each party with their attorney. In many more tangled matrimonial webs, there may be the additional costs of experts, such as those to determine who is best for providing for the children, appraisals, and business evaluators. The financial cost of going to court can easily reach into the five-digit range. The number increases exponentially if the two parties are unable to agree or emotions run high. Emotions left unchecked lead to an abundance of motion filings and, therefore, higher legal fees.


California mediation attorney, California divorce lawyerDivorce is emotional and stressful for everyone in the family, children included. Many times, children internalize their emotions and wrongfully blame themselves for the divorce. Thoughts such as, “I was bad, so my parent left us” or “They did not love me anymore either” race through their still forming minds. As adults, we know better, but it is tough for children to comprehend that the decision did not come as a result of anything they did, or did not, do. Additionally, if you share an infant child, the first year is imperative for long-term bonding. New studies show that overnight stays for children whose parents are divorced have essential benefits, leading many parents to change their child custody arrangements.

Old Beliefs

For a substantial length of history, it was the idea that younger children, especially under the age of two, suffer emotional damage by staying overnight with noncustodial parents. Psychologists believed that this time apart leads to the breakdown of consistency, trust, and security leading to irreparable harm to the parent-child relationship. Researchers concluded that infants and toddlers needed to understand that you were there for them, every time, without question to build a healthy and lasting bond. They thought that a routine of sleeping in the same place every night with the same routine built trust and a sense of security, promoting better sleeping habits and enhancing self-soothing capabilities.


California mediation attorney, California divorce lawyerDivorce does not need to be a long, drawn out, or traumatic experience. Most people have enough stress in their daily lives that the thought of divorce is overwhelming. The idea of standing up in public forum senselessly arguing every minute detail and dirty secret is not appealing for most couples. The apprehension forces many unhappy couples to stay together creating more damage to the family dynamic and emotional state. Another option is divorce mediation. Here, issues are civilly discussed behind closed doors, resulting in a long-lasting solution on which everyone can agree.

Who Is Best Suited?

There is no “one-size-fits-all” method to divorce. In some situations, the property lines and boundaries are so complicated that it takes an expert to sort out property distribution. In other cases, the parties have not spoken in years, and there is no unity to untangle. Circumstances are different under each roof, requiring various alternatives to divide a marriage or a domestic partnership. Divorce mediation works best for:

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Law Offices of Benita Ventresca

20 S. Santa Cruz Ave., Suite 212
Los Gatos, CA 95030

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