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Los Gatos, CA property division lawyerOne of the most challenging aspects of a divorce is the division of property between you and your spouse. Disagreements often arise over who will retain certain assets and debts, and splitting things up may put a strain on both of your finances. However, if you and your spouse are open to cooperation, you can reduce stress over the division of assets and take control by creating an agreement that works for both of you.

How Is Marital Property Divided in a California Divorce?

In California, assets and debts acquired by either spouse during the marriage are almost always considered community property, meaning they are jointly owned by the two of you. In a divorce, the court will ensure that community property is divided roughly equally between the spouses, and because divorce is considered no-fault in California, neither spouse’s behavior leading to the divorce will likely impact the distribution.

If you leave the decisions about property division entirely up to the court, the result will likely be financially equitable, but it may not account for each partner’s specific preferences. If you wish to have more control over the decision, you and your spouse should attempt to reach an agreement cooperatively. A skilled divorce mediation attorney can help guide your negotiations to minimize conflict and ensure that both of your interests are accounted for.

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Los Gatos, CA family law attorney for divorce mediationIf you have decided it is necessary to end your marriage, you may be worried about what comes next. The divorce process can be stressful, but the good news is that most couples are able to avoid a lengthy court battle and instead reach a cooperative agreement through negotiation and mediation. If you make the effort to go into the mediation process prepared, you can eliminate some of the stress and uncertainty and increase your chances of a satisfying outcome.

What Is Divorce Mediation?

Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution method that may be a good choice for couples who have made the mutual decision to divorce or who are willing to cooperate to reach a resolution. Unlike a public trial, mediation occurs in private, often with only the spouses and a third-party mediator present. You and your spouse will maintain control over all decisions you make, while the mediator’s role is to remain neutral and guide constructive discussions. In addition to the benefits of privacy and control, mediation also often allows you to save money and time when compared to litigation.

Preparing for Your Mediation Appointments

You can help the mediation process go smoothly by thinking through a few questions in advance, including:

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Los Gatos, CA high conflict divorce lawyerWhile divorce is rarely an easy process, it can become especially challenging if one spouse begins to act in a hostile manner. If your spouse is attempting to bully or intimidate you into meeting their demands or behaving in a way that increases conflict and makes the divorce process more difficult, you may feel helpless or unsure about how to respond. Fortunately, you can take steps to protect your rights and resolve disputes as smoothly and effectively as possible. By working with an experienced family law attorney, you can be prepared to address your concerns and reach a positive resolution to your divorce case.

Steps You Can Take During a Hostile Divorce 

First and foremost, you will want to be sure you and your family are safe from harm. If your spouse has made any threats against you, your children, or other family members, or if they have behaved in a way that has caused you to fear for your safety, you should speak to your attorney about your options for obtaining an order of protection. An emergency order of protection can be obtained at a court hearing, even if your spouse is not present, and it can prevent your spouse from committing any further acts of abuse or harassment while prohibiting them from contacting you or entering a shared residence. The court can then determine whether long-term protections will need to be put in place throughout the divorce process and beyond.

As you proceed with the divorce process, you may find that hostility by your spouse has made it difficult or impossible to speak with them and work together to resolve your outstanding issues. In these cases, it may be best to avoid contacting them directly, and mediation may not be beneficial, especially if they are not willing to work together with you to reach compromises about divorce-related concerns. Instead, you can communicate with your spouse and their lawyer through your own attorney and work to reach a settlement or resolve disputes in the courtroom.

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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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