Divorces can be difficult emotionally. No one enters a marriage thinking that it will end, so when faced with that possibility, it is heartbreaking. Once the initial emotional reaction of discussing it with your spouse starts to fade, you may start to think more logically about the process ahead. Fear may set it in because the rumors of the divorce process never seem well-intentioned. However, if you and your spouse can find ways to make agreements, then the divorce process, while emotionally difficult, can be smooth and often save you time and money.
Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce in California
When a couple decides to dissolve a marriage, then there are two options on how to file. First, they can decide to proceed with a contested divorce. In this situation, a couple cannot agree that a divorce is necessary, and one spouse may be challenging the other to remain in the marriage. This process will likely involve more time and money for both spouses as lawyers and courts sort out the filing to determine if a divorce is granted.
An uncontested divorce in California is much simpler. Couples can agree that a divorce is necessary. They may not have agreed on the terms, but they understand that moving forward together is not an option.
In both situations, the process after the initial filing can become difficult, lengthy, and costly. There are many decisions to make, including property division, potential custody rights and support, and spousal support. In many cases, couples choose to communicate through their lawyers and let the court decide on the outcome. However, when couples agree to mediate the process, they may find the process easier, quicker, and much more cost-effective.
Mediation During the Divorce
Mediation can occur at any point during the divorce process, even after a ruling is made. This is a powerful process, particularly during the discovery process. In this process, couples disclose to one another all the assets, all the background on the marriage that relates to the filing, and potential needs. This can be done through the help of a lawyer.
During the discovery process, couples may find that there is enough information or honesty between both parties that they can work through the details without the need for a court to decide the outcome. When the full picture of the situation is revealed, both parties have leverage with the other to come to fair terms. Discovery reveals everything that both parties may have been hiding from one another, and that clarity makes it easier to discuss the terms.
Mediation After a Divorce
In situations where children are a part of the divorce process, there may not always be a fair outcome. There also may be instances where the situations of a former spouse change, and the home may no longer be suitable for that child. No matter the circumstances, while divorce decrees lay out the terms that the former spouses are to follow, there are opportunities to challenge those decrees through the mediation process.
The Mediation Process
While mediation seems like an option that many couples wish to use, there are some specifics that couples must adhere to when using this process, particularly when children are involved. In the instance of children, mediation can only be used if:
- Both parents have not agreed upon a parenting plan and are, therefore, ordered by a court to use mediation
- A parent asks for any court order involving child custody
- When a stepparent or grandparent has requested visitation with a child.
In a situation that involves children and a court-mandated mediation process, a parent who refuses to participate in the mediation could lose visitation or custody rights. When a court orders mediation, the expectation is that parents will work out the details that are best for the child. If the mediation process fails, then the court will make the final decision.
A lawyer can guide you through the mediation process, but once the process is complete, your lawyer will work with opposing counsel to draft and approve a written settlement agreement. This is what will be filed with the court to be used in the process of finalizing your divorce.
If the mediation process fails, then the court decides what happens next. They may ask you to repeat the process with a different mediator, or they may appoint specific individuals to assist with the process. If all else fails, then the court can make decisions regarding the terms of the divorce.
Mediation in the divorce process empowers the couple to work with each other and to accept responsibility for the current state of the marriage. At the end of the day, you became a couple for a reason, and mediation offers an opportunity to work through the finer details as the last act as a couple. If you are willing to amicably discuss the details of the divorce, be open and honest with your spouse, compromise, and discuss property division and custody, then divorce mediation in California may be the right process for you.
The mediation process begins with an expert attorney who can help you determine your goals for the process, the expectations for the procedure, and your budget. Those factors play a role in how your mediation process will go. Without specifics laid out, then the mediation process can drag out the divorce.
Mediations are designed for everyone to feel comfortable, to be heard, and to resolve the terms of the divorce. If both parties are not invested, then the process will not work.
Mediation Divorce Attorney in Sacramento
Mediation is privileged, confidential, and voluntary. When you are facing a divorce and considering mediation, it is important that you seek advice from a proven divorce attorney. Judy Ford, Attorney at Law, can help guide you through the process to be sure it is right for you, that you are fairly represented, and that you have an equal voice in the process. If you are facing a divorce and seek mediation, contact our office today.