When Can Mediation Be Used?
If you need an experienced divorce and family law mediator, please contact me, Ronald K. Stitch. I believe strongly that mediation can be a superior method for resolving divorce and family law disputes in most cases. I offer mediation services for a wide range of family law matters, including:
- Child custody and parenting time
- Post-divorce disputes (e.g., child support, custody, visitation)
- Other family law matters
Benefits of Mediation in California
Mediation can offer a wide range of benefits to those involved in family law disputes. Potential benefits of mediation include (but are not necessarily limited to) the following:
- Minimizing stress throughout the divorce process
- Allowing you and your spouse to discuss key issues in a civil manner
- Preserving a friendly relationship with your spouse
- Preventing California family law courts from making decisions about child custody and other such sensitive matters for you
- Making the overall experience easier for your children
- Reducing costs for both spouses, as mediation can prevent a divorce from being drawn-out
What Does Family Law Mediation Involve in California?
Every family law case is somewhat unique. Thus, the mediation process can vary in some ways depending on numerous factors.
Generally, though, mediation involves:
The First Meeting
The mediation process might begin with an initial meeting or appointment. Both spouses may be in attendance.
The goal of this initial appointment is for a mediator to understand the goals of each spouse. Before the meeting is complete, a mediator in California might ask both spouses to sign an agreement to officially begin mediation.
A mediator may also assign “homework” to each spouse. For example, a mediator might ask each spouse to gather various forms of documentation related to the areas of dispute.
Mediation usually consists of multiple meetings or appointments. Often, both spouses attend these appointments, but there may be instances when a mediator believes it will be more useful to meet with a spouse one-on-one.
It is impossible to say how many appointments will be necessary. Typically, the more issues two divorcing spouses disagree on, the more appointments the mediation process will involve.
There is also no universal schedule for how often appointments take place. A mediator may account for how long it may take spouses to gather documentation or complete other homework assignments when scheduling appointments.
The basic purpose of these appointments is to work through every issue two spouses struggle to agree upon. Throughout the appointments, a mediator will strive to facilitate an atmosphere of respect and civility. Whenever it appears an agreement has been reached during a mediation session, the mediator might make a note accordingly.
A mediator will draft a document (often called a settlement agreement) that describes the nature of the various agreements that were reached throughout the mediation process. Both spouses then have the opportunity to review the agreement. They may elect to do so with the assistance of lawyers if necessary.
Should a spouse object to any of the details of a settlement agreement, further mediation might be required until all complaints have been addressed. Both spouses will sign the settlement agreement when they are satisfied with it.
The mediator will then submit the signed agreement for court approval. Although there are exceptions, typically, a court will grant approval and the divorce process can move on to the next phase.
My Role As A Mediator
As a mediator, I do not act as an attorney (legal counsel) for either party; I act as a neutral third party, with the goal of facilitating an agreement between the parties.
I meet with both parties and work to help them find common ground that can serve as a basis for agreement. Once parties have reached an agreement, I can prepare all final paperwork for the court to enable the parties to move their cases through the court system in an effective and efficient manner.
An Experienced And Knowledgeable Mediator
I have been mediating cases since California courts began recommending this process for family law cases. As mediation is relatively new to divorce and family law cases, it’s important to have an attorney who has a deep understanding of the mediation process, who has helped many individuals successfully resolve their family law issues, and who understands family and divorce law in the state.
Certified Family Law Specialist
I have more than 35 years of legal experience and have represented more than a thousand clients in divorce and family law matters. I am certified by The State Bar of California’s Board of Legal Specialization in family law. Because of my experience as a divorce lawyer, I am better able to act as a strong mediator.
Call 818-237-4574 To Schedule A Free Consultation
My family mediation services extend to clients in Thousand Oaks and throughout Ventura and Los Angeles counties. To schedule a free initial consultation, contact my law office at 818-237-4574 or by email.