Mediation Lawyer Serving Sonoma County
Let’s say that you want your divorce or custody process to be different. You may not necessarily want to discuss your private matters in court in front of everyone who happens to be in the courtroom that day. You may also not want to hurt your ex-partner and damage your co-parenting relationship. Luckily, with mediation, you have options that allow you to have a peaceful, amicable divorce or custody process.
When is Mediation Appropriate?
When most people think of divorce or custody issues, they often think of contested divorces and heated custody battles. This occurs when all parties cannot agree on the parameters of the divorce or custody agreement, and negotiation must continue through their legal representatives in court. This can sometimes take years, especially if there are high-value assets involved or complicated custody disagreements.
However, most divorces simply aren’t that contentious! Just because your marriage didn’t work out doesn’t mean that you want to fight your ex-spouse on every issue in your divorce. Most people are hurt by the divorce but more focused on getting through it and preparing for the future. These parties often want to lay the groundwork for a productive co-parenting relationship and keep the process peaceful for the sake of their children. These are the people for whom mediation is a suitable option.
In mediation, the involved parties sit down with a trained mediator to go through each of the issues in the divorce and come to a mutually agreeable solution. If both parties are angry and unwilling to compromise, mediation will likely fail, and the matter will continue to a normal court proceeding. If, however, they are interested in a peaceful solution mediation saves time and money, making it the ideal solution method.
Saving Time with Mediation
Mediation saves time, which is the main benefit for many divorcing couples and co-parents. The process of gathering information needed for informed decision-making is streamlined and simple, allowing both parties to sit together and negotiate fairly. This is much faster than the discovery process in a contested divorce, where parties may wait weeks or months for a disgruntled ex to provide the requested documentation.
Furthermore, mediation happens with both parties at the negotiating table. Consider how much faster that is than an adversarial divorce. Rather than having to go back and forth on every small change to an agreement, issues can be discussed and settled within a shorter time frame than the long, drawn-out, process of going to court. Since the mediator does not represent either party, they can offer legal information, create the environment needed for calm discussion, and help couples or co-parents reach agreements.
With both parties coming to an agreement, their decisions can simply be presented to the court. This means that the court does not have to make decisions regarding custody, child support, and division of assets. When the court simply has to review an agreement for fairness and approve it, you can get divorced more quickly and begin the emotional healing process.
The Mediation Process
When you choose Wine Country Family Law & Bankruptcy Office for your mediation needs, we’ll brief you on what to expect and what happens at each step of the process.
- The mediator will ensure that both parties are on-board with the mediation process.
- During your first meeting, the mediator will identify issues and disputed topics that must be addressed during mediation. They will also explain the ground rules and outline what is expected of each party in the process.
- As you begin discussing each issue one by one, the mediator will ask questions and work to create a safe atmosphere where both parties can bring up concerns and ask questions without fear of an angry response.
- If an impasse occurs, the mediator will look for ways to break through that impasse and use creative problem-solving strategies to restart the conversation.
- The mediator applies gentle pressure to both parties to encourage healthy communication and compromise.
- When every issue has been agreed upon and both parties are satisfied with the agreements that have been made, the mediator typically prepares legal documents and submits them to the court.
Both parties can work exclusively with the mediator or they may each have their own attorney to advocate for their best interests.
Benefits of Mediation
Choosing mediation over a conventional divorce court proceeding comes with a wide range of benefits, and we’ve found that many clients who choose mediation can create a strong and healthy co-parenting relationship as a result. Some of the benefits offered by mediation include:
- You retain control over the process. If you go through court and leave unresolved issues up to the divorce court to decide, you lose all control over the process. You cannot bargain or negotiate your way into a favorable agreement. No matter what the judge orders, you are legally obligated to abide by it.
- You keep your privacy. Privacy is absolutely crucial for many of our clients. They don’t want the private details of their divorce agreement available for public consumption, nor do they want the unpleasant details of their marriage to play out in a courtroom. In mediation, all communications are kept confidential (with limited exceptions) unless both of you consent to disclosure. Mediation generated agreements may be made confidential and exempt from public record should both of you desire.
- The process is not adversarial. A conventional divorce is often extremely adversarial and aggressive, putting both parties on the attack. While this may result in small wins in property division, custody, or child support, the long-term costs are usually much higher. The damage caused during a messy divorce can affect your co-parenting relationship indefinitely.
- You decide where you want to compromise. If there are areas where you are not willing to settle, no one will make you. With mediation, you have more freedom to decide what matters most to you and where you have wiggle room.
- You are not forced to agree to anything. Unlike a court order from a judge, mediation does not force you to accept terms that are unfair to you. At any time, you can stop the mediation process and choose a conventional divorce process.
- You save money and time. The time and money savings are a massive benefit for many couples who are getting ready to start life on a single income.
- You strengthen your communication with your ex-spouse, a significant benefit if you must co-parent together. Mediation can be challenging because it requires you to discuss emotionally charged issues with your ex-partner. However, these discussions can also benefit your co-parenting relationship, which will also undoubtedly require some difficult discussions over the years.
How Wine Country Family Law & Bankruptcy Office Can Help You
The team at Wine Country Family Law & Bankruptcy Office has expansive experience both in conventional divorce litigation and mediation. For that reason, we are able to meet with you and your partner to determine whether or not mediation is a good fit for you. If it is, we are ready to guide you and your ex-partner through this process. We fully believe in the benefits of mediation, and we have seen it help couples get ready for life after divorce.
If your ex-partner is unwilling to meet with us to consider mediation as an option, we are also ready to help you with a conventional divorce. Everyone deserves high-quality representation during a divorce, and no matter what your situation may be, we are here to support you.
Get in Touch with Our Mediation Attorneys Today
If you think mediation is a suitable choice for your divorce, we are here to help you set up a consultation. Get started now by calling our team at 707-669-0841 or contacting us online.