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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

Los Gatos, CA family law attorney for divorce mediationThe divorce process can be difficult to navigate, especially if you and your spouse have children together. Having challenging conversations with your children regarding the end of your marriage and resolving disputes over child custody can make a process that is already emotionally turbulent even more stressful. However, not every divorce has to come down to a hostile or aggressive battle in the courtroom. If you are willing and able to work together with your spouse to find solutions that will foster a healthy lifestyle for your child, you may want to consider divorce mediation as an alternative to litigation. 

Child Custody in California 

In the state of California, child custody is broken down into two primary forms: legal and physical custody. Legal custody provides a parent with the authority to be a part of important life decisions about matters such as children’s medical care and education. Physical custody refers to the child’s living situation, including where they will primarily reside and the amount of time they will spend with each parent. 

According to California state law, the protection of children’s health and welfare will be the court’s top priority when addressing child custody. It should also be noted that the state of California firmly believes that a child’s mental and emotional health can benefit from continued contact with both parents. The state will give both parties ample opportunities to establish a custody agreement on their own or through divorce mediation. If an agreement cannot be reached, a judge will make decisions about legal and physical custody. 

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Los Gatos mediation lawyer property division child custodyThere are a wide variety of reasons why couples choose to pursue a divorce. However, even if a marriage failed because of specific conflicts, such as one spouse’s disloyalty, the couple’s financial situation, or issues with substance abuse, the divorce process itself does not have to be highly contentious. In many cases, the quickest, cheapest, and most seamless way to finalize a divorce is through divorce mediation. If you and your spouse are contemplating divorce, you should speak with your attorney to discuss whether mediation will be a good fit for your situation. 

When Is Mediation the Best Option? 

Mediation is an alternative to courtroom litigation in which spouses work with a third party mediator to resolve the outstanding issues in their divorce. Mediation can be used to reach compromises regarding child custody, division of property, or any other decisions that need to be made. Mediation may be the right strategy for you in the following cases:

  1. You and Your Spouse Can Remain Civil: In order for the mediation process to be effective, you and your spouse must be able to have constructive conversations regarding your divorce. While the mediator can facilitate discussions and help you understand the legal issues that must be addressed, you and your spouse must be able to work together and make compromises. If you can put aside your differences and be productive during the mediation process, it can save you significant time and money. 

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Los Gatos, CA spousal support attorneyGoing through a divorce can be a stressful process, especially if you are unsure about your financial future after your marriage has ended. If you have been reliant on your spouse’s income during your marriage, or if you have been out of the workforce for a significant amount of time, you may be uncertain about your ability to provide for yourself after your marriage has ended. Fortunately, you may be able to receive spousal support that will allow you to maintain financial stability. 

Spousal Support in California 

When a couple gets a divorce, one spouse may be required to pay the other spouse an amount of financial support each month. These payments are known as spousal support or alimony. Spousal support can be ordered by the court in a litigated case, or spouses may use negotiation or mediation to agree on an amount that will be paid.

In the state of California, there are a number of factors taken into consideration when determining whether spousal support should be awarded. These factors are specified in California Family Code Section 4320. Most notably, the court will consider the length of the marriage, the standard of living each spouse became accustomed to during the marriage, and the age and general health of both spouses. Other considerations include whether employment would hinder a custodial parent from raising their children and whether a spouse did not work during the marriage because they were fulfilling child care duties or other family responsibilities. Any history of domestic violence during the marriage may also affect decisions about spousal support. 

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Los Gatos divorce mediation attorneyDivorce mediation can be an excellent avenue for couples to reach compromises on the various issues that must be addressed in order to dissolve their marriage. Since courtroom litigation can cost both parties valuable time and money, mediation is a popular alternative, and it can allow a couple to address and resolve each individual aspect of their divorce with the help of a trained and licensed mediator. While divorce mediation can be beneficial for divorcing couples and their children, there are times when the process can stall, and in some cases, it may fail altogether, requiring spouses to find alternative ways of resolving their disputes.

Signs That Mediation Is Not Working For You 

Mediation can take some time to complete, especially when you need to address multiple complex issues related to your children, your property, and your finances. However, there are a number of signs that the mediation process has broken down and is not working. For example, one spouse may consistently make personal attacks during mediation, use mediation time to voice frustration and anger over the divorce, or refuse to remain on topic when discussing issues. If you have spent a number of hours in mediation and have failed to reach an agreement on many of the remaining issues that you need to resolve, it may be time to pursue an alternative resolution strategy. 

What Are My Options? 

If you and your spouse are finding the mediation process difficult, you may want to consider taking a break before resuming discussions. In many cases, stepping away from the process can provide a new perspective for both parties, and this can lead to more constructive discussions at a later date. If you feel unhappy with the process because of the compromises you are required to make, you should take a look at whether your spouse is also making compromises. If it seems as though you are the only one who is willing to give any ground, and your spouse is refusing to meet you halfway, then you may need to find other alternatives for resolving your disputes. 

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Los Gatos, CA divorce lawyer for mediationWhen you make the difficult decision to end your marriage, the coming months can be stressful and tumultuous as you work out the details of your divorce. However, the divorce process does not have to be a heated and contentious battle. While you and your spouse are likely to disagree on at least some of the issues that you will need to resolve, you may be able to complete your divorce amicably. If you believe that the two of you can work together to compromise and reach agreements, it may be wise to consider divorce mediation

The Benefits of Divorce Mediation 

During mediation, you and your spouse will work with a professional mediator to negotiate an agreement on all of the outstanding issues in your divorce, including spousal support, child support, child custody, and the allocation of marital assets. While divorce mediation may not be an option in situations in which one spouse has committed abuse or domestic violence, in the vast majority of divorces, mediation can be an effective dispute resolution method, and it can provide the following benefits:

  • A faster and more efficient divorce process: It is no secret that litigation in court can prolong a divorce. Resolving matters in the courtroom may be necessary in highly contested divorces, but in many cases, it adds a great deal of time and expense to the divorce process. If you are able to work together with your spouse to reach mutually agreeable decisions, divorce mediation can save you time and money. The mediator will walk you through each area of your divorce and help you negotiate a resolution to these matters. If you cannot reach an agreement on certain issues, litigation is still an option. 

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Law Offices of Benita Ventresca

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

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