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Mediation

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San Diego Mediation Lawyer 

How Mediation Can Help Resolve Divorce Conflicts

Going through a divorce is often a hard process and a protracted legal fight can only add to the difficulty. Communication between spouses is usually fractured in any event and having to negotiate over fundamental issues like child custody, property division and the financial settlement can easily exacerbate them. That’s where mediation can serve a valuable role, in helping to calm stormy legal waters. 

Mediation is when a neutral third party works to bring two conflicting parties together by promoting a voluntary resolution of differences. Mediation attorneys are trained at facilitating discussion, seeing opportunities for compromise, and helping the spouses move closer to a settlement.

The state of California finds the mediation process so beneficial that it has mandated child custody issues at least attempt to be settled this way. This includes situations where a stepparent or grandparent requests visitation rights. However, even couples who don’t have children involved in their divorce can benefit from what mediation offers. 

Let a mediator help with your divorce settlement.
Call Smith Family Law, APC at (619) 431-3131 or contact us online today.

Advantages of Mediation

Working with a trained mediation lawyer offers several benefits compared to the alternative, which is hashing out the differences in family court and letting a judge decide. The advantages of mediation include the following: 

  • Mediation is private—It’s no secret that things are said between spouses in a divorce that they might not want the whole world to be privy to. That’s especially true when children are involved. A spouse might be justifiably upset over infidelity, but that doesn’t mean they want the kids or anyone else to hear about it. 

If your settlement goes to court, those issues will become public, at least if you want the judge to hear it and take it all into consideration. Court hearings are a matter of public record. In meditation, you can say the same things to the mediator and be assured they won’t get back to your children or anyone else. 

  • Mediation is confidential—Similar to what’s above, with one important distinction. What you say in mediation cannot be later used against you if the settlement goes to court. In other words, you can be nice in mediation without your kindness turning around and biting you later. 

An example might be telling your spouse that, yes, the kids do love them, while holding back that you’re concerned about a drinking problem. If negotiations break down, you are free to tell the judge your concerns without having any conciliatory words offered in mediation used against you in child custody decisions. 

In other words, you have virtually nothing to lose by at least trying mediation. 

  • Mediation is cost-efficient–Every case is different. But it’s not uncommon in the state of California for the cost of going to court–of a contested divorce–to be 4-5 times more expensive than mediation.
  • Mediation offers a chance for healthy closure–We won’t pretend that mediation lawyers are therapists or that mediation will heal all wounds from the end of your marriage. We’re not and it won’t. But the process that we’re trained to facilitate can offer two people a chance to bring an end to their relationship in a calm and peaceful manner. Closing one era of your life in a healthy way can be part of a new beginning. 
  • Mediation offers better scheduling–In mediation, you work out with your spouse and the mediator when you want to meet. Spouses are busy with work, home upkeep, driving kids around and any number of activities. The ability to have control on scheduling mediation sessions can be a big quality of life factor in what is a chaotic time for many people. 

Our San Diego County mediation attorneys can help with your settlement.
Call Smith Family Law, APC at (619) 431-3131 or contact us online today.

When Domestic Violence Is Involved

Not every spouse is in a situation where they can be safe with their soon-to-be ex. No one should be expected to sit in a room–even with attorneys and the mediator present–with someone who has inflicted physical harm on them. Nor does the state of California expect that. 

Even in cases where mediation is required, California law makes provision for those who have suffered from domestic violence. Under these circumstances the mediator will meet with each spouse separately, protecting the confidentiality of when the meetings will be held. All that is required–absent previous police reports–is that the person who suffered the abuse make a statement under penalty of perjury that attests to the violence. 

What to Expect in Mediation

Each mediator will have their own process, but the following general format will apply: 

  • Opening session—This initial meeting allows each side to lay out where they are at and the mediator to get a sense of the landscape. 
  • Communication–The mediator learns the areas where the couple may be at a serious impasse and looks to learn more about what they want, with the aim of crafting a win-win solution. 
  • Negotiation–This is communication taken to the next level. Now, real proposals and counter proposals are exchanged. The mediator will be looking for possible creative solutions to areas that have been at an impasse. The “fresh set of eyes” dynamic can often result in a positive solution that might otherwise be missed.
  • Closure–As mediators, we’re aiming for closure that ends with a settlement that both parties are satisfied with. However, it must be noted that sometimes closure ends with a decision by the spouses to take the dispute to family court.

Smith Family Law, APC has spent over a decade immersed in family law. That means both knowing the details of the law itself–details that can be significant in getting you the best possible settlement–and in knowing the struggles and pain people may be going through at a difficult time in their lives. 

We know how to fight on behalf of your interests, and we further understand that those interests are holistic–from your children to your finances to your home. It’s all on the line and we’ll work hard every day to give you smart, tough, and compassionate representation. Call us today (619) 431-3131 or contact us online to set up a consultation.

“Very professional office, excellent communication, and did excellent representation.”

- Angel C.
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