A contested divorce can easily drag out for two years or more, eating up legal fees, fueling animosities, and leaving your life in limbo. At The Law Offices of Teresa A. Beyers in Los Angeles, we try to finish divorces in a timely fashion by getting to the core of disputes and pressing forward. Although Teresa Beyers is a formidable trial lawyer when you need her to advocate for you in court, she is a big believer in alternative dispute resolution (ADR). If you are at an impasse or your hopes of a quick and amicable divorce are crumbling, divorce mediation may help you get back on track and prevent needless litigation, but you need a divorce lawyer to make it happen.
A mediator is a neutral facilitator who does not represent either person or offer legal advice. You and your spouse (or co-parent) sit down with the mediator in a private and nonadversarial setting to work through your disputes. The mediator’s role is to keep the conversation cordial and productive, offer suggestions, and steer you toward common ground.
Mediation offers many advantages over going to court:
The specific ways in which a Los Angeles divorce mediation attorney will assist you may depend somewhat on the specifics of your circumstances. However, the following overview will help you get a general understanding of what the mediation process may involve.
Determining When Mediation Begins
The mediation process can actually begin during several potential stages of a divorce. Some couples choose to enlist the help of a mediator before they even file for divorce. This is often the case when there are only a few issues on which they struggle to agree, and they would like to resolve those issues before official divorce proceedings begin.
It’s also relatively common for couples to get in touch with a Los Angeles divorce mediation lawyer after they have filed for divorce. In some cases, they may do so even when they have already hired other divorce lawyers to represent them.
There are various reasons one or both members of a couple might wait until they have filed for divorce before starting mediation. For instance, the “discovery” phase of divorce proceedings could reveal information about one spouse’s financial circumstances that needed to be properly uncovered before fair meditation could truly take place.
There are even cases when exes hire mediators after their divorces have been finalized. This may occur when someone wishes to make adjustments to the terms of the divorce or parenting agreement. The main point to understand is that deciding when mediation is to begin is among the core elements of the mediation process.
The next step in mediation will typically involve discussions regarding the particular issues upon which both spouses are struggling to agree. These can range from disagreements about how assets will be divided to disagreements about parenting arrangements.
At this stage, the goal of a Los Angeles divorce mediation attorney is to get a clear sense of which major topics need to be focused on. They will also want to thoroughly understand the opinions, desires, and perspectives of both spouses in regard to these topics. This will help them more effectively resolve disagreements as efficiently as possible.
Remember, a mediator is typically supposed to be a fairly neutral party. They are not meant to take one particular side. Instead, they are gathering information about both spouse’s goals to determine how a mutually satisfactory agreement may be reached.
Once more, one of the benefits of hiring a Los Angeles divorce mediation attorney is the fact that mediation sessions tend to be private. During these sessions, it must be understood that the mediator is not there to make any decisions on behalf of the couple getting a divorce. Instead, the mediator’s job is to facilitate discussions in a manner that allows both spouses to arrive at terms they can both agree upon.
That’s an essential point. Ideally, at the end of the mediation process, the finalized divorce terms will be agreeable to everyone involved. This is why when mediators are involved, it is usually easier for exes to abide by the terms of their divorce settlements in the future.
Our law firm handles contested divorce and uncontested divorce in the San Fernando Valley and Greater Los Angeles. The Los Angeles County family courts have long promoted ADR and formerly provided several hours of free mediation to encourage couples to resolve their differences without a trial. Unfortunately, county-sponsored mediation is no longer offered because of budget cuts across California. We can connect clients with private mediators, including former family law judges who now conduct mediations. Mediation can often resolve disputes and produce the basics of a divorce settlement or custody agreement. At a minimum, a divorce mediation law firm can narrow the issues if you resume four-way negotiations or divorce litigation.
We encourage clients to explore mediation, even in complex and high-conflict cases. Los Angeles divorce mediation attorney Teresa Beyers offers a free initial phone consultation and can meet clients after hours and on weekends by appointment.
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