Why Every Divorcing Couple Should Consider Mediation
The divorce process is notoriously challenging in several ways. Divorce is certainly emotionally taxing on most people who experience the process, and it can also be expensive while hampering the usual activities of your daily life. While divorce is never likely to be easy, having the right legal team behind you as you approach one of the biggest challenges of your life can make a tremendous difference in the stress you experience.
The attorneys at Bickford, Blado & Botros strive to provide citizens in the San Diego area with critical information and resources. Our desire is to assist clients and prospective clients alike in making more informed decisions about their divorce proceedings. To that end, one of the most crucial things all people contemplating divorce must acknowledge is the advantage of mediation over litigation.
Divorce mediation is certainly not a simple endeavor, but it is far easier than a protracted court battle against your spouse. The advantages of mediation become particularly clear if you consider that when you litigate your divorce, the result is entirely out of your control. With mediation, however, divorcing couples can retain the right to pursue their best interests.
What Is Divorce Mediation?
Mediation is the most used form of alternative dispute resolution for couples divorcing in the United States. The process is straightforward on the surface. You and your spouse will meet with your respective attorneys and a neutral mediator to conduct private settlement negotiations with your divorce. Mediation unfolds on your own time and offers a low-pressure atmosphere for discussing all the difficult topics that require your attention in the divorce process.
While the above may sound easy enough, the reality is that mediation still requires extensive preparation, keen awareness of key details, and reliable legal representation through each phase of the process. Therefore, seeking attorney guidance through mediation is a key indicator of success. Despite its complex nature, alternative dispute resolution has gained tremendous popularity in recent years due to the several advantages the process provides.
Mediation Saves Time and Money
Litigation of any kind is notoriously time-consuming and expensive. Even a relatively straightforward divorce in California may require several months or years of court appearances before the divorcing couple obtains a divorce agreement. By comparison, most divorcing couples who choose mediation can settle their divorces within a few weeks or months, depending on how often they can schedule their sessions.
You can pursue agreements regarding the division of property, spousal support, and more through mediation. While you cannot solve every issue involved in your divorce through mediation, you can still save a substantial amount of time and court fees if you and your spouse are willing to compromise. Mediation sessions typically take place at the mediator’s office, and it is possible to cover one issue at a time until you have a functional draft of your divorce agreement.
Mediation Is Entirely Private
When you litigate a case in the courtroom, everything said during your court proceedings enters public record. It is relatively simple for anyone to look up court records and read transcripts of everything said during any court case, including litigated divorce cases. Mediation, on the other hand, is entirely private. Everything discussed during your mediation sessions will remain confidential, even when you submit the draft of your negotiated divorce agreement for final approval from a San Diego family court judge. The divorce itself will become public record, but everything you and your spouse discussed in mediation will not.
The courtroom experience is stressful enough, but knowing that everything you say will become public record can be extremely daunting. This is especially true if you must discuss personal and sensitive matters during divorce proceedings. As a result, it is common for the privacy mediation offers to encourage divorcing spouses to choose this option.
Mediation Offers More Control Over Your Divorce
When you litigate your divorce, the final decision rests in the hands of the judge. No matter how much evidence you offer and how convincing your arguments may be, the result depends on the judge hearing your divorce case. Additionally, judges ruling on divorce cases in California must adhere to state laws. For example, you and your spouse may assume the court will choose a reasonable agreement in your favor when it comes to property division and custody of your children. However, a judge may have vastly different ideas regarding what is fair, and both of you could wind up disappointed.
Mediation can be a more empowering choice because it allows much more freedom to choose how your divorce unfolds. Instead of being at the mercy of California legal statutes, it is possible for you and your spouse to privately negotiate a more personalized and logical divorce agreement. Some issues like child custody will still require the court’s ruling since California family court requires a judge to oversee custody determinations to ensure the result aligns with the best interests of the children. However, the other issues your divorce entails will be much more firmly within your control.
Important Reminders About Mediation
The benefits of opting for divorce mediation are undeniable when you consider the expense, stress, and time required to complete litigation. However, there are some important things everyone should remember before pursuing mediation. First, if you have children, you can negotiate a parenting plan, but you cannot make any final decisions about child support or child custody. A San Diego, CA family court judge must review your proposal and ensure it supports the best interests of your children.
Second, you must have reliable legal representation on your side as you navigate the mediation process. Many people mistakenly assume that their mediator can answer their questions and guide them through the process. However, the mediator may not provide either spouse with legal counsel, nor may they make any professional recommendations to either spouse. Their job is to guide the negotiation and help the couple draft their divorce agreement, nothing more.
If you are ready to divorce in San Diego and want to take full advantage of the many benefits mediation can offer, the team at Bickford, Blado & Botros can provide the legal counsel you need. We can help you navigate the mediation process successfully and pursue an equitable settlement for your divorce. Contact us today for more information about what you can expect from divorce mediation in San Diego.
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