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

Los Gatos, CA divorce mediation attorneyThere are many details to work out during a divorce. Unfortunately, some couples end up in a cycle of litigation in which no one really wins. Arguments about custody, property, child support, alimony, etc. can result in both parties running up major attorney’s fees and court costs. Rather than fighting out every little thing through the legal process, some couples may be able to save a lot of money and stress in the long run by opting for mediation.

Avoid Wasting Time and Money on Litigation

When you and your partner decide to call it quits, dividing marital property and agreeing on what is best for your children can sometimes be complicated. Even if both parties mean well, which is not always the case, the divorce can end up dragging on and on, causing unnecessary stress and huge expenses.

If you and your soon-to-be-ex cannot reach an agreement on some things, it may be time to hire a mediator. A mediator can take on one issue at a time and help the two of you work out decisions that are fair to both of you. This can greatly reduce the time and money needed to complete your divorce, since going through the courts to resolve every little disagreement can take years and cost thousands of dollars.

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Los Gatos CA divorce mediation lawyer child custodyIn the heat of the divorce proceedings, sometimes one parent is willing to do just about anything to hurt the other parent. In other cases, one parent may have legitimate concerns about their child’s health and safety when they are in the care of the other parent, and they may be willing to fight for months or years to protect their child. When there is a custody disagreement, mediation can ease the financial and emotional burden on all parties involved by allowing parents to take a more personal approach to resolving their disputes while saving time and money by not dragging matters out in the courtroom.

What Is the Purpose of a Mediator?

Divorce mediation is designed to bring parents together and help them settle on a parenting plan that will work for their individual situation. A mediator assists in facilitating agreements and provides the necessary information to both sides to help them come to an agreement. An attorney experienced in mediation knows the laws but also understands the human, emotional part of parenting during and after a divorce. It can be difficult to see past one’s own anger and fears during a divorce, and as a neutral third party, a mediator can advocate for the child or children involved, working to overcome the parents’ emotional disputes. 

Litigation in court is clinical and impersonal, and it can become drawn out and expensive when resolving custody and visitation matters. Mediation allows parents to work together to reach an agreement that they can both be satisfied with. However, if mediation lasts a long time, and either or both parents still refuse to come to terms, a mediator can provide an assessment and recommendations to the court. This often helps the judge to make a more informed decision that is in the children’s best interests.

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Los Gatos divorce mediation attorneyIf you are unclear about the reasons for choosing divorce mediation over one-on-one negotiations or resolving issues in court (litigation), you are not alone. You might wonder if mediation is only appropriate for couples that still have a positive working relationship, or can it also work for couples who cannot seem to stop fighting? You may also wonder if it is a process you and your spouse can choose for yourselves, or is it something the court will order you to do?

Is Mediation Voluntary or Court Ordered in Santa Clara County?

The California courts generally prefer for divorcing couples to reach a settlement on their own. Couples are free to work out their settlement agreement through whatever process they prefer: on their own, through attorney-to-attorney negotiations, with the help of a family law mediator, or some combination of those methods.

However, the family court in each county may have its own local rules. In Santa Clara County, when parents cannot resolve a child custody or visitation dispute on their own, the court may order them to participate in mediation. A judge will typically settle such issues only as a last resort.

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Los Gatos divorce mediation lawyerFew couples can accomplish a divorce settlement entirely on their own, for three main reasons: 

  1. By the time a couple reaches the point of divorce, relations may already be strained to the breaking point. 
  2. While in this state of stress, a couple must work through a long list of issues in order to separate everything they currently share. 
  3. These issues include complicated legal and financial matters, such as child custody and support, joint bank accounts, individual retirement accounts, real estate, and other shared assets like cars and furniture. 

The California legal system offers several solutions to this divorce dilemma, one of the most popular being private divorce mediation, a process facilitated by an attorney who is well-versed in both divorce law and mediation techniques

California Courts Encourage Divorce Mediation

The California legal system supports mediation through specific laws as well as family court procedures and recommendations. For example, the California Courts website promotes mediation by explaining that “a judge can never know about your relationship—as a couple and as a family—as well as you know yourselves. So it makes sense to work out as many issues as you can out of court.” Mediation allows the spouses to retain control of their divorce process and decisions rather than yielding that power to a judge.

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CA family lawyerThe end of a marriage can be a difficult, stressful time, and resolving the legal issues that must be addressed during divorce can be a complicated undertaking. In many cases, couples choose to use mediation to reach an agreement on these issues, allowing them to avoid the financial and emotional costs of fighting their battles in court. However, the mediation process is often misunderstood, and people are not always aware of the pros and cons of divorce mediation. Here are some common myths about mediation:

  • A mediator will decide in one spouse’s favor - During mediation, couples will work together with the mediator, who serves as a neutral third party, helping them reach an agreement. The mediator cannot make any decisions; instead, they will help spouses understand the legal issues that must be addressed and work to reach mutually agreeable compromises.
  • Couples cannot consult with their attorney or other experts during mediation - During mediation, each spouse can speak to their own attorney, who can help them understand their rights and provide legal advice about the decisions they make. Spouses can also work together or separately with outside experts such as accountants or appraisers to ensure that they fully understand issues related to their finances and the property they own.
  • All outstanding issues must be resolved during mediation - Spouses may be able to address and agree on many of the issues involved in their divorce, such as the division of property, child custody, or spousal support, but there may be situations in which an agreement cannot be reached in some issues. In these cases, spouses can incorporate the decisions they have made into their divorce settlement while asking the court to make a decision on any outstanding issues.
  • Mediation is always preferable to litigation - While mediation can be beneficial for many couples, it will usually only be helpful if spouses are willing to work together and compromise with each other. If one or both spouses refuse to budge on certain issues, they may derail the mediation process, reducing or eliminating the benefits that mediation can provide.

Contact a Los Gatos Divorce Mediation Attorney

If you are considering divorce, the Law Offices of Benita Ventresca can help you understand whether mediation is the best solution for you, and we can work with you and your spouse to address your legal issues and reach a mutually beneficial agreement. If you are unable to resolve your divorce issues through mediation, we can provide you with dedicated representation throughout the divorce process, ensuring that your rights and best interests are protected. Contact a Los Gatos, CA divorce lawyer today at 408-395-8822 to schedule a free consultation.

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Law Offices of Benita Ventresca

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

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