Collaborative Divorce Vs. Divorce Mediation in California Family Law
Ending a marriage can be one of the most challenging experiences of a person’s life, and when many people imagine divorce, they think of emotionally charged courtroom battles, strict and impersonal divorce order terms, and many uncertainties regarding their futures. So, if you have reached the point where you know you need to end your marriage or if your spouse has filed for divorce, it’s natural to have many pressing legal questions.
You do not need to resolve your divorce entirely through litigation, and many divorcing couples opt for alternative dispute resolution to avoid the stress and expense of divorce court. While you cannot resolve every divorce-related issue privately, taking advantage of alternative dispute resolution can be tremendously beneficial to you and your spouse in many ways.
Collaborative Divorce in the State
As the name implies, collaborative divorce is a process involving private collaboration between the divorcing spouses. During this form of alternative dispute resolution, the divorcing spouses meet privately with their respective attorneys and negotiate terms for their divorce order. As long as the couple adheres to applicable California statutes, it’s possible for them to customize their divorce order in a mutually agreeable fashion.
It’s important to note that while you cannot resolve issues related to child custody or child support in a private collaborative divorce, you can address property division, spousal support, and many of the other financial issues your divorce entails. The only real requirement for you to take advantage of alternative dispute resolution is that both you and your spouse must agree to try it. If either of you is entirely unwilling to negotiate, collaborative divorce will not be an option for you.
Mediation is very similar to collaborative divorce, but this form of alternative dispute resolution unfolds under the direction of a mediator, a neutral third party who oversees the divorcing couple’s negotiations and helps them draft their divorce order. The mediator does not provide legal counsel to either spouse nor may they hold a conflict of interest that would favor either spouse. Instead, the mediator’s job is to keep the conversation flowing and productive and help the couple draft a divorce order they can submit to a family court judge for final review and approval.
Similar to collaborative divorce, you cannot resolve child custody or support-related issues privately. However, a good mediation can help divorcing parents draft parenting plans that may help them reach more agreeable custody terms. Ultimately, all divorcing parents must understand that the family court has the final say regarding custody, and the court must rule in favor of the child’s best interests.
What Must Be Addressed in Divorce Court?
Ultimately, despite your best efforts to avoid litigation in your divorce, almost every dissolution case in the state will require some measure of court proceedings. When a divorcing couple takes advantage of alternative dispute resolution, they may not be able to reach firm conclusions on every aspect of their divorce. Specific issues like child custody and child support cannot be negotiated privately and demand the court’s attention. However, some couples may reach impasses regarding other aspects of their divorce, compelling them into litigation.
High net worth divorces, divorces involving criminal behavior like domestic violence, and hotly contested property division are just a few examples of the issues that a family court judge may need to resolve in a divorce. Ultimately, no matter what your unique divorce case entails, the best thing you can do to improve your chances of reaching good results is to hire legal representation you can trust. When you choose Bickford Blado & Botros to represent you in your divorce, we’ll help you take advantage of alternative dispute resolution to the fullest extent possible and look for all other ways we can potentially streamline your divorce proceedings.
Q: Do I Need a California Family Law Attorney for Alternative Dispute Resolution?
A: It’s technically possible to go through divorce mediation or collaborative divorce on your own, but it is always best to have legal counsel you can trust on your side if you want to reach the best possible outcome for your case. Your attorney can represent you in your alternative dispute resolution sessions, ensuring you reach fair and equitable terms and addressing any specific concerns you have about your case.
Q: Does Community Property Law Apply in Private Divorce Settlement?
A: If you and your spouse decide to take advantage of alternative dispute resolution, you have far more flexibility to negotiate terms in your divorce than you do in litigation. However, the state’s community property law still applies, and you and your spouse must acknowledge this law in dividing your marital assets. Your attorney can help you determine whether you can reach alternative solutions to situations that would typically demand selling certain marital assets and dividing the proceeds.
Q: Is Alternative Dispute Resolution Possible If My Spouse Committed a Crime?
A: If you are divorcing in response to domestic violence of any kind or any type of criminal behavior from your spouse, it is unlikely for alternative dispute resolution to be a realistic option for you in this situation. Your attorney will be an invaluable asset in determining how to address issues like these that come into play in your divorce, but it’s important that you prepare for the possibility that you will need to participate as a witness in criminal court proceedings involving your spouse.
Q: Is It Worth Hiring an Attorney for My Divorce?
A: Many people preparing for divorce wrongly assume they cannot afford legal representation. The reality is that hiring an experienced divorce attorney to represent you is an investment in your future when you consider the implications your divorce is likely to have for your foreseeable future. Therefore, it is always worth finding legal counsel you can trust for a divorce.
The attorneys at Bickford Blado & Botros routinely provide compassionate and responsive legal counsel to clients facing difficult divorces. If you have questions about collaborative divorce, divorce mediation, or specific concerns about your impending case, contact us today to schedule a consultation with a divorce attorney you can trust.
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