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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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b2ap3_thumbnail_mediation_20171101-034651_1.jpgCalifornia custody lawyerTelevision and film are rich with depictions of litigation, courtrooms, and righteous legal prose. In film, there are the many adaptations of novels written by author John Grisham, including The Firm, The Client, and The Pelican Brief, among others. On television, there are How to Get Away With Murder, Suits, and, perhaps the all-time most well-known show, Law and Order. A common thread among all these many narratives is the element of confrontation.

The reason for this commonality is the adversarial nature of litigation. Whether between a state prosecutor and a local criminal defense attorney or between a tort litigator and the defense counsel in a civil court, the parties are fighting for the outcome that best serves their interests. As human beings, we are wired to be interested in competition and conflict in the social world, as these activities have much to with power – a resource central to so many of the activities of society, whether in the U.S. or abroad. An experienced Los Gatos mediation attorney, however, knows that mediation and compromise may succeed where competition and conflict fail.

Bay Area Wealth and Property Values Bear on Matters of Mediation

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California divorce attorney, California family law attorneyLife is always changing. Sometimes it takes unexpected turns that have profound and lasting consequences. Without the ability to foresee the future, it is impossible to plan every aspect of life completely. Two such instances are divorce and bankruptcy. California is very understanding when it comes to divorce and aims to ensure that both parties separate with equal financial footing, many times requiring the payment of spousal support or alimony. A bankruptcy filing can substantially alter maintenance requirements during divorce litigation or divorce mediation proceedings, many times requiring post-judgement modifications.

What Do These Terms Mean?

If a person is in bankruptcy status, the courts relieve them of paying these debts. During a divorce, bankruptcy may make it tough to make the necessary alimony payments. Many in this situation do attempt to use this status as a tool to avoid the fees. To see where there could be a dilemma, it is best to understand what each means.

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