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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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California divorce lawyerThe divorce rate is so high and the cost of divorce litigation so expensive that there is in both California and the broader United States a divorce economy. Specifically, the divorce rate in California is a whopping 60 percent – twenty percent higher than the national average. The cost of divorce litigation is, at the low end, $40,000 per spouse.

In Orange County, 371 miles south of Los Gatos, attorney’s fees alone for 31 recent divorce filing ran on averaged an astonishing $150,000 per spouse. Not only that, but for each child custody evaluation flowing from the filings, California taxpayers picked up a $10,000 bill. If you are in the process of divorce or merely contemplating divorce and your head is now reeling from the potential financial toll, know that mediation is an alternative to divorce that has helped many Californians save both money and stress. With the help of an experienced Cupertino/Los Gatos divorce and mediation attorney, you can work to avoid costly litigation.

The Road to Trial Is Long and Costly

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California mediation lawyer, California divorce attorneyPerhaps you are in the middle of divorce conversations. Maybe you were just served divorce papers out of the blue when you thought everything in your marriage was normal. Maybe you finally have had enough and are ready to call it quits but have not dropped that bomb on your significant other. In any of these situations, it is very likely that you have questions and are out exploring information. Even if you have gone through a divorce before, the culture and the divorce experience itself have changed and become something of a healing process. Yes, the marriage is over, but the split does not have to be emotionally scarring. Many couples that choose divorce are opting to go with the “friendly” divorce option, known as divorce mediation.

What Is Divorce Mediation?

Divorce mediation is a divorce option where, instead of going in front of a judge to have them iron out the details of your divorce, you and your spouse, together with your mediator, sit down in a room together and decide what works best for you and your situation.

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