Divorce Mediation Attorneys in Los Angeles, Keeping Divorce Peaceful
Divorce litigation can be costly, time-consuming, and create undue friction between two former partners. This can lead to extreme difficulties when children are involved, but even marriages that end with no young ones can still prove challenging. More people are hoping to avoid the conflict and adversarial nature of ending their marriage in court, and fortunately, there are several ways to do just that. If you’re hoping to keep this process as peaceful as possible, having a divorce mediation lawyer in Los Angeles on your side is ideal.
At Kim Mediation and Law Center, you’ll have access to a neutral third party that can help ensure a fair settlement agreement is reached outside of the adversarial environment of a courtroom. A divorce mediator doesn’t represent a single individual, so their goal is to serve as an impartial third party that helps divorcing couples reach an arrangement that’s amenable to everyone. Even complicated cases — including those involving child custody, spousal support, and other difficult issues — can be handled through mediation proceedings.
Your family law attorney at Kim Mediation and Law Center has been helping couples keep divorce peaceful for over two decades. Contact us today for a free initial meeting and learn how a mediator can help.
What Is Divorce Mediation?
Divorce mediation is a collaborative approach — although not technically collaborative divorce — that seeks a more cooperative way forward. Rather than filing for divorce and then fighting to get as much as possible in court, the mediation process sits both parties in front of a mediator to discuss what’s best for all involved. Since the mediator doesn’t take a side during this process, their main goal is to encourage conversation, suggest solutions, provide legal knowledge, and help divorcing spouses come to an agreement without the stresses of arguing in court.
A divorce mediator isn’t there to tell you what to do. They can help you better understand divorce laws in Los Angeles — this way you don’t agree to anything that a judge may overturn — but the final decision always rests with the soon-to-be exes. Your divorce mediation expert will merely serve as an unbiased third party. The mediation process will occur in a neutral place where everyone can feel comfortable. Once an agreement is reached, the appropriate paperwork can be filed with the courts.
You have plenty of options when choosing a mediator, but it’s wise to go with a family law attorney. They’ll understand statutes relevant to your situation, and once there’s a settlement agreement in place, they know the appropriate way to file the paperwork. In essence, many of the most difficult divorce issues are completely removed from your plate. The end of a marriage is already tough enough, so there’s no reason to worsen the situation with untrained professionals or combative court hearings.
What Does the Divorce Mediation Process Look Like?
Mediation is a great tool for reaching a divorce settlement without creating unnecessary discord. Unfortunately, many people choose not to go this route simply because they don’t understand it. While fighting it out in court may seem incredibly stressful, it’s something that people can wrap their heads around. They’ve seen it on television and — in some cases — they’ve even experienced it firsthand as children or adults. Understanding what mediation sessions look like can help you feel more comfortable with the entire process.
Here’s what you can expect during a divorce mediation:
Initial conversations: The mediation process typically begins before the divorcing parties ever sit down in the same room. The mediator or their assistant will usually meet with each person individually to get background information. This isn’t an effort to see who’s “right or wrong.” The mediator simply needs an understanding of the basic facts and what each party hopes to achieve during mediation.
Signing an initial agreement: Divorce mediation doesn’t guarantee an outcome will be reached, so a confidentiality agreement is an important part of the process. What’s said during mediation should always remain confidential. If the two parties decide that traditional divorce proceedings are more appropriate, having this agreement in place will prevent what’s said during mediation from being unfairly used in court.
Starting the mediation: Divorce mediators will start by setting an agenda during the first mediation meeting between the involved parties. This will help everyone better understand the process. Similar to a divorce trial, each individual will often then be allowed to make an “opening statement.” This isn’t an opportunity to become combative. Rather, it’s meant to allow each person to be open and honest about what they hope to achieve.
The mediation proceedings: A divorcing couple will then be asked a series of questions by the mediator. The mediator will also guide discussions between the two to see where common ground can be reached. The most important thing during this process is that you’re willing to listen and have an openness to compromise. Your unbiased third-party mediator can answer questions and help you better understand the law.
Reaching an agreement: Once mutually agreeable decisions are reached, the mediator will document a binding agreement for each individual to sign. If you’ve chosen to work with Kim Mediation and Law Center, you’ll then have this paperwork filed with the court on your behalf. The judge will review the agreement and — if approved — make it part of the final decree.
Will mediation work if everything can’t be agreed upon? It’s very possible. Some individuals leave mediation with several mutually favorable terms, but it’s not always possible to agree on everything. The agreements signed regarding the issues you came together on, however, can remain legally binding. Even if you have to involve a judge in the decision-making process for certain issues you don’t agree on, the divorce mediation process can still save you time and money over traditional litigation.
Do I Really Need a Divorce Mediator?
Many divorcing couples think their situation is straightforward and doesn’t require expert help. There are others who think that — if they can come to an agreement with a mediator — then they can get on the same page without one. There are several benefits to using a divorce mediation expert — which we’ll discuss in the next section — but it’s first important to understand why undertaking the divorce process on your own can be problematic.
To start, former partners need to divide assets during their divorce. California is a community property state, so assets must be divided equally. What you may not know is that this doesn’t apply to properties you acquired before the marriage or after a legal separation. Of course, this could change if you have intermingled such assets. And if the other party received a gift or inheritance during the relationship, you may have no entitlement to it at all. To put it simply, property division alone dictates that you should have an experienced attorney in Los Angeles, CA to help.
Things can become even more complicated when trying to figure out spousal support, child custody arrangements, and child support. While the parties to a divorce are given significant leeway to make these decisions on their own, they must still abide by California law. For instance, a court may very well refuse a child custody agreement they feel is not in the best interests of the child. Having an experienced mediator on your side can help you make difficult decisions while protecting your rights and helping to ensure the courts accept your settlement arrangement.
What Are the Benefits of Divorce Mediation?
There are certainly some benefits to establishing an attorney-client relationship and going the traditional divorce route. In some instances — like those discussed in the next section — this really is the best option. In situations where divorce mediation is appropriate, though, there is a multitude of benefits for both parties. Just consider a few of the most significant advantages:
Save money: The mediation process is far more affordable than going to trial.
Settled issues: While it’s still possible that some issues may need to be decided in court, most mediations end with an agreement that covers everything.
Retain confidentiality: Everything said during a trial goes on the public record. This can be embarrassing and lead to negative outcomes. Mediation is always confidential.
You’re in control: A court will not decide what’s best in your situation. You and your former partner get to reach these conclusions. And if it’s not working, litigation is still an option.
Expert advice: When you work with a Los Angeles divorce attorney as a mediator, you have access to a treasure trove of legal knowledge. Some people also choose to have an attorney represent them in mediation, but this often isn’t necessary when your mediator is a legal professional.
Remain cordial: There’s no need for divorcing couples to walk away hating each other. This is particularly true when children are involved. Mediation allows for eye-to-eye discussions and the ability to agree upon important details without becoming adversarial.
If divorce mediation is an option in your situation, there’s no reason you shouldn’t consider it. Even if you think some of your disagreements are simply too significant, many former spouses have learned that this is rarely the case. Mediation helps simplify the divorce process and keep the peace as you reach agreements, so put some serious thought into contacting a Los Angeles divorce mediation attorney.
When Is Divorce Litigation the Best Option?
People often worry that their divorce is simply too complicated for mediation. In reality, this is typically untrue. A divorce mediation attorney in Los Angeles can handle even the most complex issues — ranging from high-asset property division to child support and custody agreements. There are certain instances, however, where litigation may be a more appropriate option. If you find yourself in the following situations, hiring a family law attorney to represent you in court might be the best path forward:
History of abuse: If domestic violence has occurred in a relationship — whether physical or emotional — it’s understandable that someone may not feel comfortable speaking their mind during mediation. Additionally, it may be wise to seek a protective order.
Mental illness exists: If one spouse suffers from addiction or another mental illness, divorce mediation may not be appropriate. The court might have to make some difficult decisions during this process.
Bad faith behavior: Mediation makes family law issues easier for everyone, but it simply won’t work if either party is acting in bad faith. If you believe your spouse is hiding assets, intends to delay the proceedings, or plans to lie about your situation, litigation may be necessary.
It’s always tragic when a neutral third party can’t help a divorcing couple keep things peaceful. However, it would be dishonest to say that mediation works in every situation. Be honest with yourself about whether amicable resolutions can be reached. And if you’re unsure whether this is the right path, remember that you can speak with an experienced Los Angeles divorce mediation attorney during a no-obligation, free consultation at Kim Mediation and Law Center. This will give you a better idea of the best path forward in your situation.
Contact a Divorce Mediation Lawyer in Los Angeles, CA Today
A mediation session removes much of the tension experienced in a courtroom. Whether your case is complex with issues like child custody arrangements and dividing business assets — or everything seems straightforward with no children or major assets — divorce mediators can assist you in reaching a mutually acceptable agreement. This can save you money, stress, time, and help you more easily navigate the difficult road to marriage dissolution. You need a divorce mediation expert with extensive training and years of experience. That’s exactly what you’ll find at Kim Mediation and Law Center.
In your mediation sessions at our law office, we’ll help you maintain a coolheaded and cooperative approach to divorce. People far too often let their relationship devolve even further when they employ an “I need to win” strategy during litigation. Instead, let us help you reach a settlement agreement that works for everyone. The important thing to remember is that you’re always in control. If you decide the mediation process isn’t right for you, you can always opt to go the traditional route before a judge.
Since we offer free consultations at Kim Mediation and Law Center, though, it never hurts to give peace a chance. Contact us today by calling (213) 351-1000 — and get a divorce mediation lawyer in Los Angeles that’s committed to minimizing stress in the divorce process as much as possible.