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Mediation and Litigation
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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 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 divorce attorney child custody

When parents choose to get divorced, or when unmarried couples do not live together, disputes over the custody of children can become highly contentious. During these types of cases, parents will want to understand how they can address their children’s needs and avoid acting in a way that will cause their children to experience emotional harm. They will also want to be sure to understand the best steps to take to resolve child custody issues in a way that protects their parental rights while providing for their children’s best interests. During these types of cases, you will want to be sure to avoid the following mistakes:

  1. Acting in a Hostile Manner: The strong emotions involved in child custody cases can lead parents to behave in a way that could negatively impact their case. Be sure to refrain from speaking negatively about the other parent in front of your children, on social media platforms, or in court. It is best to remain as calm as possible and try to avoid arguments with the other parent whenever possible. Instead, conduct negotiations through your attorney or during mediation, limiting the possibility of angry outbursts or heated discussions. 
  2. Violating the Court’s Orders: During the divorce process or while a child custody case is pending, the court may issue temporary orders regarding matters such as visitation schedules or child support. Failure to follow these orders could result in the court deciding against you in your case. During this time, be sure to pick up and drop off your children on time, and do not attempt to take the children when it is not your time to have them. It is also important to make child support payments on time and in the full amount according to the order. 
  3. Not Focusing on Your Children: Even though you will likely be putting a great deal of time and energy toward legal matters, it is important to be sure you are taking time for your children as well. When making decisions about child custody, the court may evaluate your parenting skills, and you will want to demonstrate that you are closely involved in your children’s lives. Be sure to have a firm understanding of your child’s academic performance and extracurricular interests, and make sure you can provide your child with a safe, stable, and comfortable home life. If the court feels that you are not fully engaged as a parent, or if you are unable to provide your child with a safe home, this could have a negative effect on decisions about child custody. 

Contact a Los Gatos, CA Child Custody Lawyer

With years of experience helping clients throughout the entirety of the divorce process, Attorney Benita Ventresca will do everything in her power to help you reach a positive outcome to your child custody case. To schedule a complimentary consultation with an experienced Los Gatos, CA family law attorney, call us today at 408-395-8822. We serve clients in the Los Gatos, Sunnyvale, Saratoga, Cupertino, and San Jose areas.

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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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