Seeking Family Law or Divorce Mediation? Lake County Residents Turn to Us.
Considering divorce mediation? Lake County residents can turn to Wine Country Family Law & Bankruptcy Office for skilled assistance in divorce mediation.
If you can keep your matter out of the courtroom, often you and your family will be much better off now and for years to come.
One method to avoid the courtroom is through use of an experienced mediating family court lawyer.
Our divorce and family law mediator is experienced in assisting families in obtaining outcomes which save money and achieve resolution faster.
What is Mediation?
In mediation, you and your spouse, partner, or other parent meet with a neutral third-party called a mediator. Mediation may be used to resolve one issue or an entire divorce. The mediator does not legally represent either of you, nor do they advocate for either of you. Legal advice is not provided by the mediator to either of you.
Instead, the mediator-attorney gives legal information to both of you. Mediation is usually based on a number of sessions lasting one to three hours each. The multiple mediation appointments sets the groundwork for you and your spouse, partner, or other parent to work toward agreement(s) over time instead of pushing you to agree to a full resolution by the end of a single session.
About the Role of a Mediating Family Court Lawyer: Divorce and Family Law Mediation
Our mediator helps you and your spouse, partner, or other parent in determining the areas of dispute(s):
- Our mediator provides a safe atmosphere for you and your spouse, partner, or other parent;
- Our mediator guides in managing you and your spouse, partner, or other parent’s emotions;
- Our mediator guides in balancing the power between you and your spouse, partner, or other parent;
- Our mediator guides you and your spouse, partner, or other parent in developing options and creative alternatives to resolve your dispute(s);
- Our mediator guides you and your spouse, partner, or other parent to get over hurdles to making agreements;
- Our mediator puts appropriate pressure on if necessary to reach agreements and discusses implementation;
- Our mediator guides in communication and negotiation between you and your spouse, partner, or other parent to reach a consensual settlement;
- Our mediator and staff at Wine Country Family Law & Bankruptcy Office will prepare certain legal documents, if you both request such.
You and/or your spouse, partner, or other parent can’t be forced to agree with a decision in mediation. Participating in mediation does not stop you and/or your spouse, partner, or other parent from obtaining a court hearing.
You and/or your spouse, partner, or other parent are free to employ your own lawyers. The lawyers can go to mediation sessions as long as both of you and our mediator agree in advance.
Some people in Lakeport mediation hire a consulting attorney to assist in the divorce process similar to a coach. When using the services of a mediating family court lawyer, our Lakeport/ Lake County mediation clients are encouraged to review any agreements made in mediation with their own attorney before finalizing them.
Benefits of Mediation:
- You and your spouse, partner, or other parent control the mediation progression;
- You and your spouse, partner, or other parent pick your mediator (and can fire the mediator any time);
- You and your spouse, partner, or other parent spend less money in the mediation process;
- The mediation is confidential (with some exceptions);
- You and your spouse, partner, or other parent have less discourse (to the benefit of your children);
- You and your spouse, partner, or other parent learn helpful parenting and communication skills;
- The mediation process is faster than the usual divorce methods;
- The agreements are made up by you and your spouse, partner, or other parent;
- You and your spouse, partner, or other parent’s lives are enhanced!
Mediation Versus Lake County Court Litigation
In litigation, you and your spouse, partner, or other parent have very little say in when, where, or how court proceedings will be held.
In mediation, sessions are scheduled by you and your spouse, partner, or other parent when you want.
In mediation, you and your spouse, partner, or other parent can make agreements based on what works for you, whether or not they comply with the California Family Code.
In litigation, you and your spouse, partner, or other parent don’t get to pick your Judge. The Judge may have minimal or no experience practicing family law. The Judge may have their own opinion or biases (positive or negative) about you and/or your case.
It is quite difficult to disqualify a Judge from your case. In mediation, you and your spouse, partner, or other parent select your mediator. If either of you are unhappy with the mediator or the process, you can fire the mediator at any time.
In litigation, the Judge makes all of the decisions, impacting you and your spouse, partner, or other parent for years. The Judge, a stranger to both of you, is forced to make important decisions for both of you and your family based on a limited set of facts in a very limited amount of time. The Judge’s decision must conform with the California Family Law Code, even if not practical given your situation.
In mediation, your agreements are not limited to comply with state law. Mediation provides for much more flexibility. When you and your spouse, partner, or other parent come up with your own terms to agreements, it is much more likely that the agreements will be adhered to than orders made by a stranger.
Without a Mediating Family Court Lawyer, Lake County Clients Can Expect…
Litigation is expensive! Assuming both of you have lawyers, you are paying for all communications from you to your attorney, then your attorney back to you, then your attorney to your spouse, partner, or other parent’s attorney (and it goes on). Then your spouse, partner, or other parent is paying for the same onerous method of communication. Mediation can cut-out this costly “middle-man” way of communicating.
To make matters worse, much time is spent by litigants and lawyers getting ready for court. This includes the “Discovery” procedure where one of you compels the other to produce specific information. This can get very costly, especially if one of you is uncooperative or if depositions become necessary. Time spent in court– litigating or just waiting around for a hearing to start is billed hourly by each lawyer.
Meanwhile, you and your spouse, partner, or other parent may be losing income because you’re away from work. Litigation expenses can quickly add up if one or both of your attorneys are prone to constantly squabble rather than try to reach a settlement.
Court hearings are usually open to the public. The courtroom is often crowded with others waiting their turn to address the Judge, whereby nothing is private. Documents and agreements made through litigation are usually filed with the court making them public record. Your co-workers, potential employers, neighbors, friends, churches, and even your kids can access court documents of the most private nature even years later.
In mediation, all communications are protected from disclosure (with limited exceptions) unless both of you agree to allow disclosure. You can choose whether mediated agreements are made public or are confidential.
In litigation, there’s usually a “win-lose” attitude by you and your spouse, partner, or other parent and your attorneys. This evolves into competition and conflict between you. Mediation avoids this by giving both of you tools to communicate and negotiate more effectively so that you can make the best agreements on your own. The decreased fighting and improved communication between you benefits you and your family well beyond the mediation sessions.
In litigation, the process can be protracted over years due to overcrowded court calendars, uncooperative spouses, and/or inflexible lawyers. It usually takes at least one month simply to get a matter in front of a Judge, often only to be continued to a later date for various reasons. Mediation may start right away. Your mediation may be scheduled as often as you both desire until agreements are made.
Mediation May be Right for You and/or Your Spouse, Partner, or Other Parent if:
- You’re not still grieving and/or hoping to get back together;
- You’re not hiding assets;
- You each are cooperative in giving access to documentation;
- There’s minimal chance that either of you will try to take advantage of the other;
- There’s no history of abuse, violence, high conflict, or litigation;
- Each of you can understand math, budgets, financial, and parenting issues;
- You have been able to solve problems and cooperate with each other;
- Each of you can communicate with each other;
- Each of you want to reach a settlement;
- Each of you are willing to incur a small cost to reduce the risk of contested litigation;
- If either of you hired lawyers, they support mediation.
How Much Does Divorce Mediation / Lake County Family Law Mediation Cost?
Many things can affect the cost of mediation such as the complexity of the financial and legal issues, as well as you and your spouse, partner, or other parent’s emotional state and ability to negotiate.
Time outside of mediation sessions is required for the mediator to prepare summary letters, for phone/e-mail/written correspondence with both of you, and for legal document preparation (if requested). We are happy to provide you with our mediator-attorney and paralegals’ current hourly rate by phone, email, or by our contact form CLICK HERE.
At Wine Country Family Law & Bankruptcy Office, we believe that the benefits to mediation far exceed that of litigation. In order to encourage you to mediate rather than litigate, we generally require a low retainer of no more than $2,500. This mediation retainer is much less than we require for a non-mediated case. Our mediator will discuss this in more detail during a discounted initial consultation with both of you and will provide fee information in writing if both of you wish to retain us.
Who Pays for the Mediator?
In Wine Country Family Law & Bankruptcy Office’s mediation fee agreement, you must specify how you want to allocate the fees and costs of the mediation.
Some people equally divide the fees and costs. Others agree that only one of you will pay the fees and costs. Some agree to charge all fees and costs on a credit card and then negotiate who pays it later.
Some agree to divide the fees and costs according to their respective salary (i.e. one pays 70%, the other pays 30%).
Still Unsure About Mediation?
Go to the Lake County family law courthouse and witness the litigation system first-hand. Watch the lawyers and litigants in the lobby before court. Listen to and feel the stress and emotions of the people involved. Watch the court proceedings. Observe the adversarial nature of the communications by the lawyers and the people involved. Take note of the minimal time the Judge has to deal with each case on their hectic calendar.
See what little opportunity the parties have to speak with the Judge or even each other. Once you witness this, we are confident that you will understand and appreciate the benefits and value that Wine Country Family Law & Bankruptcy Office can offer you through our divorce mediation Lake County services.
Are You Ready to Start Mediation?
At Wine Country Family Law & Bankruptcy Office, we ask that both participants coordinate with each other to schedule the initial consultation. To do this, we suggest that you share this web page with your other party.
Kindly ask them to review it and get back to you to let you know whether they are willing to schedule a discounted mediation initial consultation of up to one hour. If they agree, please contact us CLICK HERE. Of course, if the other party is not willing to consider family law or divorce mediation, our attorneys are happy to help you with any of our other services as long as we have not consulted with your spouse, partner, or other parent yet.
Ideally, you should call us to schedule the initial consultation while both of you are present. If this is impractical, you should decide who will contact our office to schedule it. Please determine the best days and time frames for scheduling for each of you (and any dates in the near future when either is unavailable) before calling us.
Be prepared to provide us with your spouse, partner, or other parent’s contact information including their e-mail address, if applicable. We will contact them to provide the appointment information once the appointment is made. Please specify whether they prefer us to contact them by phone or by e-mail.
At your initial mediation consultation, both of you will meet together with our mediator-attorney, L. Bailey Penzotti, to go over the mediation process and address any general questions or concerns about the process. If during this consultation you decide to hire Wine Country Family Law & Bankruptcy Office, we will provide a fee agreement for both of you to review, sign, pay the fee retainer, and schedule your first mediation appointment.
Or, if you need time to think it over, let us know. We are happy to mail or e-mail the fee agreement to you later, upon your request.
If you believe you can benefit from family court or Lake County divorce mediation, Wine Country Family Law & Bankruptcy Office serves clients in Lakeport, Kelseyville, Hidden Valley Lake, Clearlake, Middletown, and Lower Lake and surrounding communities.
Please check out our client reviews to see for yourself what our clients have to say about us. It’s our commitment to providing quality legal services in a friendly manner that sets us apart from the pack!