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Los Gatos divorce attorney child custody mediation

The divorce process presents a unique set of challenges in each individual case. For parents, a divorce can significantly alter their relationships with their children. In many cases, divorcing parents will be fighting for custody of their children, and as this battle for custody takes place, many parents forget what should truly be at the forefront of the conversation: what is best for the children. In many cases, mediation can be used to resolve these issues amicably while keeping children’s best interests in mind.

The Benefits of Mediation in Child Custody Cases

During the mediation process, divorcing parents will work together with a neutral mediator to reach an agreement about child custody and visitation. Mediation can provide many benefits, including:

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Los Gatos, CA divorce mediation attorneyThere are many details to work out during a divorce. Unfortunately, some couples end up in a cycle of litigation in which no one really wins. Arguments about custody, property, child support, alimony, etc. can result in both parties running up major attorney’s fees and court costs. Rather than fighting out every little thing through the legal process, some couples may be able to save a lot of money and stress in the long run by opting for mediation.

Avoid Wasting Time and Money on Litigation

When you and your partner decide to call it quits, dividing marital property and agreeing on what is best for your children can sometimes be complicated. Even if both parties mean well, which is not always the case, the divorce can end up dragging on and on, causing unnecessary stress and huge expenses.

If you and your soon-to-be-ex cannot reach an agreement on some things, it may be time to hire a mediator. A mediator can take on one issue at a time and help the two of you work out decisions that are fair to both of you. This can greatly reduce the time and money needed to complete your divorce, since going through the courts to resolve every little disagreement can take years and cost thousands of dollars.

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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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Santa Clara County grandparents' rights attorneyAfter a divorce, grandparents can provide an important point of stability in a child’s life. Grandparents can also provide emotional and even financial support to their grandchildren that divorced parents often cannot, due to the stress of divorce, the juggling of child care and custody, and the costs of maintaining two separate households. 

However, it can be difficult to maintain strong lines of communication between grandparents and grandchildren in the wake of a divorce. Fortunately, the California Family Code (sections 3100-3105) directly addresses the issue of grandparents’ rights to see their grandchildren.

When Grandparents May Request Visitation With Grandchildren

California law presumes that parents have the sole right to determine whether and when their children have contact with any grandparents. However, grandparents may ask a California court to award them visitation rights in certain circumstances:

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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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