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Los Gatos, CA divorce attorney for virtual mediationGetting divorced can be a complex process even in the best of times, and issues such as property division and child custody can lead to emotional and contentious disputes between spouses. The COVID-19 pandemic has added an additional level of difficulty to divorce proceedings, since spouses will not only be struggling to resolve the legal issues related to their breakup, but they may also be concerned about staying safe and avoiding infection as they find new living arrangements, share custody of children, meet with attorneys, and attend court hearings. In many cases, mediation can be a beneficial way to resolve divorce disputes, and couples may be able to complete this process virtually using electronic devices and online tools.

Benefits of Virtual Mediation

During divorce mediation, spouses will meet with a neutral mediator and work together to create a divorce settlement that addresses all outstanding legal issues related to the end of their marriage. This often allows couples to complete the divorce process more quickly, and by cooperating and making compromises, they can both be satisfied with the decisions that are made. For those who do not want to meet with a mediator in person, virtual mediation can allow them to work together remotely by using videoconferencing programs such as Zoom.

In addition to providing safety by avoiding potential exposure to infections, virtual mediation provides a number of other benefits. Being able to have discussions from the comfort of one’s own home can help reduce stress, since spouses will not need to be in an unfamiliar office. It is also very easy to take a break if discussions get heated or emotional, and turning off the camera or stepping away from the computer for a moment can provide a momentary reprieve that would not necessarily have been available in other situations.

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Posted on in Mediation

Santa Clara County divorce mediation attorneyIf you have made the difficult decision to end your marriage and pursue a divorce, you will be facing a lot of questions about how your life will change and the legal issues that you will need to address. As you proceed with the divorce process, one important question you should ask yourself is whether you can use divorce mediation to reach a divorce settlement. When you use mediation, you and your spouse will work with a neutral mediator to discuss and resolve all of the issues in your divorce, including child custody, spousal support, community property, and financial matters. The mediator will serve to facilitate the conversation and help you remain professional and focused as you work to reach a mutually agreeable divorce settlement. 

The Benefits of Mediation

The long-term and short-term benefits of divorce mediation cannot be understated. Not only can divorce mediation expedite the divorce process, ensuring that you and your spouse can move forward successfully into the next chapter of your lives, but mediation can also result in significant financial savings. Perhaps most importantly, divorce mediation will provide you with an increased level of control and flexibility in making the critical decisions in your divorce. 

When a divorce is resolved in court, a judge will ultimately make decisions on issues such as child custody and the division of community property. Mediation, on the other hand, will give you and your spouse full control over the decisions made. If you and your spouse have children together, the mediation process can serve as a foundation for how you will work together as co-parents in the coming years.  

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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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