Skip to main content
Balakhane Mediation includes On-line Divorce and Family Mediation Services where all Mediation Sessions are conducted on-line. Contact us to learn more.
  • Divorce mediation in La Puente
    Leyla Balakhane

    La Puente Family & Divorce Mediator

  • divorce mediation services La Puente

    Mediation Encourages Collaboration, Cooperation and Mutual Respect

  • Divorce mediation in La Puente
  • divorce mediation services La Puente

Family and Divorce Mediator in La Puente

Are you searching for a divorce mediator near La Puente? Are you looking for cost effective approach to resolving your divorce? Are you wondering if mediation is the right route for you?

Leyla Balakhane is a distinguished Los Angeles divorce mediator, facilitator, coach and trainer serving the La Puente area and specializing in high conflict divorce law.  She is a member of the Los Angeles County Bar Association LACBA Arbitration panel where she arbitrates family dispute concerns fees and costs. With respect to COVID19, we our now offering online family and divorce mediation services.

Divorce and Family Law Mediator La Puente

Contact Leyla Today!

Going through a divorce can be emotionally taxing extremely costly and legally confusing. Choosing divorce mediation can help alleviate those challenges as mediators support individuals in processing any issues that arise, all while maintaining the autonomy and agency of those involved. If you are looking to file for divorce, mediation will create a space for you to find amicable resolutions with less conflict and legal costs.

Mediation Blog Posts

What is Your Conflict Resolution Style? Navigate Difficult Situations with Ease by Understanding Conflict Styles

Undergoing a divorce can be one of the most emotionally challenging times in a person’s life. While conflicts are inevitable during this difficult time, they are not insurmountable.

Whether you’re considering divorce mediation over litigated divorce, or are already preparing for a California divorce mediation, it’s important to be mindful of the different conflict management styles you and your spouse can use to make the process as smooth and efficient as possible.

When faced with disagreements, most couples have a default conflict management style they fall back on that, if not recognized, can get in the way of approaching them in a more constructive manner. Understanding your own conflict management style, along with your spouse’s, can help you navigate difficult conversations with more compassion, and divert any negative feelings that would otherwise impact the final outcome.

Conflict is a natural and inevitable part of our lives. No two people will always agree on everything, and that can lead to uncomfortable situations, especially without the proper conflict management skills in place. However, not all conflict is bad! It’s often how two sides come together to create something new and better than what either had before that makes all the difference.

Enter the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI), a conflict management assessment tool developed by Kenneth W. Thomas and Ralph H. Kilmann in the early 1970s, designed to measure an individual’s preferred method of handling conflicts between themselves and others, as well as their ability to adapt to different situations when necessary.

This blog post will provide an overview of the various styles of conflict management and how they can be applied to divorcing couples looking to reach an amicable resolution with their spouse.

The Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI)

What Is TKI?

The TKI allows us the opportunity to recognize the different styles of behavior when faced with conflict, while providing guidance on how to best respond in these situations. The model measures five conflict management styles – competing, avoiding, accommodating, collaborating, and compromising – and helps identify which strategy is most appropriate for a given situation. It also provides information on how effective each strategy might be in resolving a conflict.

How can couples best navigate difficult situations with ease?

There are a variety of approaches to conflict management that can be implemented before, during, and also after the divorce mediation process.

Let’s break down the main conflict management styles and look at how they can be implemented when going through a divorce.

There are a variety of conflict management approaches for navigating the challenges that arise throughout the divorce process. Depending on your goals, the nature of the conflict, and various circumstances, these conflict management styles may be implemented.

5 Conflict Management Styles to Help Alleviate Conflict

Avoidance as a Conflict Style

Depending on circumstances that may arise, this conflict management style aims to alleviate disagreements by avoiding issues altogether in order to maintain peace and harmony between everyone involved.

This avoiding conflict management style is often used in cases where there is no clear solution or if the situation could potentially become more heated if discussed at length. It involves avoiding confrontation altogether by simply refusing to engage in discussions about difficult topics or decisions.

This type of approach works well in situations where emotions are high and there is potential for things getting out of hand quickly.

Benefits of the avoiding conflict management style

This specific conflict management style may be beneficial during the following scenarios:

  • When issues and disagreements seem trivial
  • When neither spouse has power or can’t change
  • When damages as a result of conflict outweighs its benefits
  • In situations where one or both spouses need to reduce tensions, cool down, or regain composure
  • When gathering information in a given moment is more crucial than making immediate decisions
  • When disagreements and conflicts can be resolved more effectively with others
  • When issues are symptomatic or tangential

In some cases, avoiding conflict altogether is the best way to resolve a dispute between two individuals. Avoidance doesn’t mean running away from difficult conversations; rather, it means taking some time away from each other in order to evaluate and process what has been discussed before coming back together with a calmer approach and better understanding of the situation at hand.

A break can allow both sides to clear their heads and come back with more clarity and perspective on how they want to move forward.

However, it’s important to remember that avoidance does not equate to resolution; rather, it simply delays the inevitable until both spouses are ready to have a civil discussion about the matters at hand.

Given the nature of this conflict style, it is essential to assess whether it is the best option in terms of how to manage conflicts that arise.

The main problem with this conflict management style is that it tends to lead to passive-aggressive behavior and resentment, which only serves to exacerbate any challenges at hand. This approach only serves as a temporary fix that may result in greater issues later down the road if left unresolved.

If you or your spouse find yourselves using this approach on a regular basis, consider speaking with a professional family therapist or family law mediator who can help you work through your disagreements in a more civil and constructive manner.

Accommodating Conflict Management Style

The accommodating conflict style involves one of the spouses feeling like they are sacrificing their own needs in order to keep the peace within the relationship. Instead of standing up for themselves, they choose instead to give in so that there won’t be any further tension.

This accommodating style may be used when someone feels overwhelmed by a situation, or simply wants to implement an avoidant conflict style in order to avoid confrontation altogether.

Although accommodating someone else’s needs may seem like the easiest way out at first glance, it usually leads to feelings of resentment down the line as one spouse begins feeling like they are being taken advantage of or that their needs are being ignored altogether.

This type of approach can be helpful in some situations, but it can also lead to resentment over time if one spouse’s needs are not taken into consideration enough by their partner as they are making efforts towards resolving conflict.

Competing Conflict Style

The competing style of conflict management is a win-lose approach that aims for one person to gain while the other person loses. In this case, one or both of the spouses emphasizes their own needs and disregards the needs of the other person, ultimately leading to negative results and uncompromising outcomes.

This type of conflict style is often characterized by a person’s desire to win an argument or prove that they are right. It maintains the mindset of winning at all costs and is best used in emergency situations or when a decision must be made quickly.

The competing conflict management style is not an ideal approach to resolving conflicts as it makes a significant impact on the relationship between the spouses and takes on more of a firm stance in the negotiation process. It disregards the underlying concerns of couples and can result in other conflicts that could have otherwise been avoided, and ultimately leads to hurt feelings and strained relationships.

If you implement this approach throughout the divorce mediation process, you may get what you want in the short term, but it will likely cause more tension and animosity in the relationship between you and your spouse in the long term. Conflict management styles based on this approach may end up causing a lot more damage in the long run, and generally do not reduce conflict, but rather escalate it.

Collaborating Conflict Style

The collaborative style of conflict management seeks to resolve conflicts through means of collaboration and cooperation. This approach looks at all aspects of a disagreement and encourages couples to find solutions that are mutually beneficial. In this style, couples can focus on finding common ground, rather than on who is right or wrong.

A collaborating style to conflict resolution also encourages both spouses to work together to identify the underlying causes of their differences and explore ways to address them.

This conflict resolution method involves both sides working together towards a mutually beneficial solution by sharing ideas, thoughts, and feelings about different aspects of their dispute. Collaboration allows both people involved in the conflict to feel heard while also having an active role in crafting a solution that works for everyone involved. It can also help build trust between two people who may have had difficulty communicating in the past.

Unlike most other conflict management styles, the collaborating style is a win-win approach where both spouses work together to find a mutually beneficial solution that meets everyone’s needs. It involves active listening from both sides so that each person can clearly understand the other’s point of view before reaching an agreement that works for everyone involved. In order to do this effectively, there must be mutual respect and open lines of communication and transparency throughout the entire process.

Compromising Conflict Style

Considered as one of the most popular strategies for resolving conflicts in divorce cases, the compromising conflict management style is a middle-ground approach which involves meeting halfway and finding solutions that both spouses can live with even if neither one gets exactly what they want out of the outcome. During negotiations, it requires couples to compromise so that each person is able to express their interests without feeling triggered by the other side’s comments or requests.

A compromising style to conflict resolution can help resolve difficult disputes while still allowing couples to maintain some degree of satisfaction with the outcome and achieve a win-win solution, and divert what could have amounted to a lose-lose scenario.

Compromise works best when there are two reasonably flexible individuals who are willing to meet halfway on their issues. The goal here is to find areas where you and your spouse can benefit from a solution.

Compromising allows both sides to meet somewhere in the middle and reach an agreement that works for everyone involved.

Benefits of Compromising Conflict Management Style

A compromising style of conflict management is essential to consider under the following circumstances:

  • When considering which goals are moderately important
  • When divorce becomes a “power play” and spouses with equal power are strongly committed to mutually exclusive goals
  • In order to achieve a quick solution or temporary settlement when complex issues arise
  • When matters become time consuming and spouses need to arrive at expedient solutions under pressure of time
  • Under circumstances where competition or collaboration fails

Whether you utilize the approach of a competing conflict management style, accommodating style, avoiding style, collaborating style or middle ground compromising style to conflict resolution, communication is key to the success of your divorce mediation process! It’s essential to not only to express your own thoughts and feelings, but also listen carefully and consider your spouse’s views in order to understand them.

When difficult situations are approached with respect and open-mindedness, resolutions are made more quickly and efficiently than if utilizing a competing style of conflict resolution. Divorce can be challenging enough without adding unnecessary stress; use these conflict management techniques as tools for creating a peaceful environment during this challenging time in your life!

The Balakhane Mediation Method to Approaching Difficult Situations

At Balakhane Mediation, we provide a safe space for couples undergoing a divorce. From facilitating dialogues for deeper understanding, and thinking of new ideas and creative solutions towards handling disagreements— we strive to help couples with conflict resolution efforts that will lead to their final solution and win-win situation.

If you’re interested in taking the next step in the divorce mediation process, Balakhane Mediation offers a complimentary mediation consultation session designed to help couples avoid conflict and mitigate unpleasantness through thorough assessment of each person’s needs.

Get started today by contacting 424-235-4173 and allow us to help you plan the next steps in the divorce mediation process.

Top Ten Reasons Why Couples Divorce

Couples separate for a multitude of reasons, but most marriages end because of a fairly common issues. Whether it be a lack of communication or extreme differences in values, both experts and couples commonly report the following ten reasons for why couples divorce: 1. Lack of Trust. Believing in your partner is integral to any […]

What You Need to Know About Spousal Support in California

What You Need to Know About Spousal Support in California Navigating the court system during a divorce can be a complex and overwhelming process for spouses. However, with the right knowledge and understanding of key considerations, this process can be much smoother. In addition to discussing these important considerations, we’ll also explore the many benefits and flexibility that come with choosing mediation as an alternative to traditional litigation. Whether you are considering going to court or exploring mediation, our goal is to provide you with the information and resources you need to make informed decisions and achieve a positive outcome for your divorce. From income information highlighting financial circumstances, to compiling essential documentation and determining parenting schedules, there are a number of factors that go into ensuring preparation when entering the journey of divorce mediation. One of the main and most important topics that arises throughout the legal separation and divorce mediation process, aside from child support and parenting schedules, is spousal support and which spouse will be subject to pay alimony. Whether the decision to pursue divorce was mutually agreed upon, or it came separately from you or your spouse—financial assistance and who will receive spousal support is essential to consider and discuss as you start the journey to become self-supporting. Before determining eligibility for long term spousal support, let us distinguish between the three sources of choices for mediating parties, the CA Family Code, the financial considerations of everyday living, and agreements made by the parties. What Is Spousal Support? In California, spousal support, also referred to as alimony, is money that one spouse pays to the other after undergoing the process of divorce. The purpose of this payment is to help the spouse receiving financial support maintain their post-divorce lifestyle. In some cases, it may also be used to help make up for lost wages due to career interruptions in order for the lower-earning spouse to become more financially independent. Spousal support orders are typically determined on a case-by-case basis as there are many factors that are taken into account. From length of marriage, a spouse’s age, and income disparities—to your spouse’s earning capacity and changed circumstances, among others—there’s a wide range of factors to consider when undergoing a California divorce. Depending on each spouse’s specific circumstances, financial support to one spouse may only be provided through a spousal support order either during and/or after the divorce process is finalized. While the concept is simple—the legal aspects around alimony can be complex. Eligibility for Spousal Support in California How do you know if you qualify for spousal support in California? If you are a California resident and are contemplating divorce mediation as an option over a court based litigation, it is essential to assess whether spousal support in your particular circumstances would be warranted as viewed through the lens of the law. In a case law ruling that dissolves a marriage, a court may order temporary alimony to be paid by one spouse to the other in a specific amount, for a set period of time that the court deems just and reasonable, based on the standard of living established during the marriage. This type of support, commonly referred to as spousal support, is often called alimony in jurisdictions outside of California, but it essentially means the same thing. In general, either spouse may request spousal support after filing for divorce in accordance with California law. Understanding the technicalities of California’s family court system is crucial for determining your eligibility for permanent spousal support. In order to qualify for long term spousal support in California, either spouse must meet certain requirements set out by state law. Family Code Section 4320 is a provision of California law that outlines the factors a court must consider when issuing an order for spousal support, which is also referred to as alimony. The section provides a list of factors that the court must take into account when making a determination regarding spousal support in a divorce or legal separation case. Some of the factors that are considered in accordance with Family Code Section 4320 include: Age and Health of both spouses When California courts make a final judgment in a divorce case, they consider any age gaps and health ailments as an indication into which spouse is susceptible to being more vulnerable. Any income and assets along with a breakdown of your spouse’s debts Whether you’re self-employed or working for a company, gaining an understanding of where you stand financially is essential for depicting your ability to provide temporary alimony or permanent spousal support. Additionally, it offers a clear indication as to which spouse is more likely to be the sole provider of child support and alimony payments. Earning capacity of both spouses California courts also assess the extent to which the present or future earning capacity of the recipient spouse has been impaired in order to care for minor children. Additionally, when determining how long spousal support should be provided by the supporting spouse, the courts consider the spouse’s ability to pay alimony and take into account their earning capacity, unearned income, assets, and standard of living. Standard of living during marriage The marital standard of living is a crucial factor that is considered when determining post-judgment support in a divorce case. It refers to the quality of material life that was made possible by the income of either spouse or both spouses combined. Did the couple live a life of luxury or did they struggle to make ends meet? The answer to this question is crucial because it helps to determine the amount of spousal support that one party may be entitled to receive. The court looks at this factor to help close the gap between the parties’ capacities to support themselves after they are no longer a married couple. This is especially important when one party has substantially higher earnings than the other party. Ultimately, the goal is to ensure that both parties can maintain a standard of living that is as close as possible to what they had during the marriage. By taking into account the marital standard of living, the court can make a fair and just determination of post-judgment support. Contribution of each spouse to a joint marital property One of the key factors that is taken into consideration when determining spousal support is the current obligations and assets of each party, as they relate to community property or separate property for the duration of the marriage. This means that the court will take a close look at the financial resources of each party, including their debts, income, and assets. They will also examine any property that was acquired during the marriage, and whether it is considered community property or separate property. It’s important to note that spousal support is not intended to punish one party or reward the other. Instead, it is meant to help both parties maintain a standard of living that is as close as possible to what they had during the marriage. Ultimately, by considering the current obligations and assets of each party, the court can make a determination that takes into account the unique circumstances of the case. Economic losses due to career interruption Any financial or monetary loss as a result of balancing hardships pertaining to each spouse’s career is another essential component courts consider when determining who becomes the supporting spouse or the supported party. Length of the marriage In California, marriages that last for 10 years or more are considered long-term marriages under Family Code Section 4336. This is important because in a divorce case involving a long-term marriage, the court may order long-term spousal support to the supported spouse. If the court makes an order for spousal support that is half the length of the marriage, it won’t be reversed because there is an ending date. The longer the marriage, the more likely it is that the spousal support will be open-ended. However, for marriages that are less than 10 years, the court may set a fixed amount of time for support and it won’t be reversed by the courts. Contribution by one spouse to the education or career advancement of the other When considering the formula for alimony and granting an alimony award, education and career advancement is essential for the courts. As part of their support order qualification process, courts may also assess the marketable skills of the supported spouse, the job market for those skills, and the time and expenses required for them to acquire the appropriate education or training to develop those skills. Financial condition of each party at the time alimony is requested As part of the guideline for determining and paying spousal support, the courts may assess each spouse’s financial conditions and ability to be self-supporting. A spousal support calculator indicates that 40% of the paying spouse’s support is from their net income, reduced by half of the receiving spouse’s net monthly income. However, there are no specific formulas as any decision made by the court will depend entirely upon its assessment of all applicable facts. The court may also modify alimony awards at any time if changes occur that affect one or both spouse’s needs for permanent or temporary spousal support payments. For example, if one party experiences a major change in income due to job loss or promotion, they can petition for a modification to their existing agreement, and request temporary support. Any other factors that could be relevant to a particular situation A court-imposed long term spousal support order versus temporary spousal support may ultimately be determined based on factors that are unique and relevant to the unique circumstances of each marriage. The case for receiving long term spousal support payments or implementing a temporary support order can be complex, involving a number of complicated considerations. These include prenuptial agreements that may affect a spouse’s eligibility, as well as considerations related to community property and separate property. The goal of the legislature is for each spouse to become self-supporting within a reasonable period of time, except in the cases of longer-term marriages (greater than ten years). In general, a reasonable period of time is considered to be one-half the length of the marriage. For example, in an eight-year marriage, the expectation is that the spouse receiving spousal support payments will become self-sufficient within four years. In most jurisdictions, the court may modify or terminate spousal support if a recipient spouse is cohabiting with another person and receiving financial support from them. However, the court’s decision will depend on the specific circumstances of each case and the laws of the jurisdiction in question. In some cases, the court may reduce spousal support rather than terminate it completely. Understanding the Three Basic Types of Spousal Support Orders
  1. Temporary Support: This type of support is established at the beginning of a divorce case and is intended to provide financial assistance to a spouse until a final judgment or settlement is reached. Temporary support can be awarded for a specific period of time or until a specific event occurs, such as the completion of job training.
  2. Post-Judgment Support: This type of support is established as a result of a settlement or judgment of divorce by the court. The length of support can vary from short-term to mid-term or long-term, depending on the length of the marriage and other factors. Post-judgment support takes into consideration many criteria, such as the length of the marriage and the standard of living during the marriage. It is intended to provide ongoing financial support to a spouse after the divorce is final.
  3. Non-Modifiable Support: This type of support is predetermined and cannot be changed. It can be in the form of a fixed amount paid for a set period of time or a lump sum settlement that ends the support obligation. Non-modifiable support is typically awarded in cases where the financial circumstances of the parties are clear and unlikely to change.
Here Are Some Tips for Spouses Requesting Alimony
  • Be realistic with your needs: When requesting alimony, it is important to have a clear understanding of your monthly expenses. Take some time to prepare a realistic list of expenses, including housing, food, transportation, healthcare, and any other necessary expenses. This will help you to determine the appropriate amount of alimony you need to maintain your standard of living.
  • Consider opportunities to increase your income: While alimony can be helpful, it is important to explore other opportunities to increase your income. This may include taking on additional work, pursuing education or training, or starting a business. By increasing your income, you can become more self-sufficient and reduce your reliance on alimony payments.
  • Create a plan for education or training: If you do decide to pursue education or training to increase your income, it is important to create a plan to guide you towards your goals. This may include researching schools or programs, identifying sources of funding, and setting a timeline for completion.
  • Be realistic about the changes that will occur: Divorce can be a difficult and emotional experience, and it is important to be realistic about the changes that will occur as a result. This may include changes to your living situation, your financial situation, and your social support network. By acknowledging these changes and preparing for them, you can better manage the transition and move forward with your life.
  • Be aware of local laws and regulations: It is important to familiarize yourself with the laws and regulations governing alimony in your state or jurisdiction. For example, in California, temporary support is routinely generated by a formula that is computer-driven. However, when determining long-term support, the courts are advised not to rely solely on the computer software due to the many variables that are not built into the software. By understanding the local laws and regulations, you can better navigate the process of requesting alimony and ensure that you receive the appropriate amount of support.
Here are Some Tips for Spouses Who are Being Asked to Pay Spousal Support
  • Set realistic expectations: If your spouse is seeking spousal support, it is important to set realistic expectations as to how long it will take for them to become self-sufficient. Depending on their education, work experience, and other factors, it may take some time for them to become financially independent. By setting realistic expectations, you can better plan for the future and avoid any unnecessary conflict.
  • Avoid forcing your spouse into a low paying job: While it may be tempting to pressure your spouse into taking a low-paying job, this can be counter-productive to the outcome you want to achieve. By allowing your spouse the time and resources to pursue education or training, they may be able to secure a higher-paying job in the long-term, which will ultimately benefit both parties.
  • Recognize that you may be paying more upfront: If your spouse is pursuing education or training, you may be required to pay more upfront to support them. However, it is important to remember that this investment can lead to increased income opportunities in the future, which can ultimately benefit both parties. By recognizing the long-term benefits of supporting your spouse’s education or training, you can approach the situation with a more positive outlook.
Navigating the process of spousal support can be a daunting task, especially during the emotionally charged time of divorce. However, there is hope for a peaceful and equitable resolution when both parties are willing to engage in mediation and explore creative solutions. Setting realistic expectations and avoiding unnecessary conflict can help pave the way for productive negotiations. Rather than approaching the process with a combative attitude, both parties should strive to approach the situation with an open mind and willingness to explore all options. Considering financial assets, asset division, and debt assignment, among other factors, can be instrumental in achieving a fair and just outcome for both parties. By taking the time to consider each other’s unique needs and circumstances, it becomes possible to create a solution that works for everyone involved. It’s essential to remember that the goal of spousal support is not to punish one spouse or benefit the other. Instead, it is designed to provide financial assistance to the spouse in need while also ensuring that the other spouse is not unfairly burdened. Approaching the process with compassion, patience, and a willingness to explore all options can make a world of difference. It’s possible to create a solution that provides stability and security for both parties, paving the way for a brighter future. How Support Orders are Considered While there are “rules of thumb” for the length of time Spousal Support may be paid, there are other various factors that come into play under the law to assist in the calculation of spousal support. California law can be a challenge to comprehend, especially when it pertains to alimony and regulations around alimony payments. If you’re going through a separation, it’s essential to become familiarized with the various rights pertaining to spousal support and calculating alimony, in order to make informed decisions throughout the process. Gain a more comprehensive understanding as to whether you may have to pay spousal support or whether you will be in need of support if your financial circumstances fall within the parameters accepted in a support order. The Benefits of Using Balakhane Mediation Services  If you are considering divorce, it is recommended that you engage a divorce-family mediator. Unlike the court system, mediation allows couples to work in privacy, which is crucial during a difficult time. A mediator can guide you through all aspects of the process, ensuring a fair and equitable final settlement. Furthermore, working with a mediator provides a safe environment for both parties and protects privacy throughout the proceedings. With the proper insight and guidance, you can ensure that your interests are considered throughout every step of the process. Proper guidance is crucial for your post-divorce financial future remaining secure. Considering requesting a spousal support order or temporary order? Curious to know if you will have to pay alimony, or if you are entitled to receiving long term spousal support? At Balakhane Mediation, divorce and matters around obtaining spousal support is one of our primary specializations. Whether you’re waiting on a final judgment around alimony payments or long term spousal support—or encountering challenges around a spousal support order and need professional guidance—Balakhane Mediation is here to help on every step of your journey. To learn more about your options for spousal support and how you can achieve a settlement that maximizes benefits for both parties, contact Balakhane Mediation today for a complimentary initial consultation at 424-235-4173. Leyla Balakhane will help guide you through the process and find creative solutions that work for your unique situation. Take the first step towards a fair and equitable resolution by scheduling your consultation today.
Mediation can occur in person, over the phone, and through video conference. Depending on the circumstances, mediation meetings can happen with the mediator and both spouses together (often called ‘joint session’). Mediation can also involve the mediator meeting with each spouse privately (often called ‘private caucus’) to discuss the needs of each party and find a way to help the spouses come closer to common ground.

La Puente Divorce Mediation FAQ

Questions regarding mediation in La Puente are normal; we have compiled some frequently asked questions and provided answers below:

What is divorce mediation?

Divorce mediation is a popular process used by a couple in divorce to avoid a costly and lengthy divorce trial. With the assistance of a neutral third-party mediator, agreements are reached on all divorce issues: division of property and debts, spousal support, parenting issues including time-sharing, child custody, and child support. Since all agreements are made in mediation, spouses never have to enter a courtroom and can avoid the conflict and stress of litigation. 

In mediation, spouses make their own voluntary decisions and personalize their divorce terms to meet both of their needs. The choice to settle the case and avoid court is always up to the spouses and which process will work best for them. Spouses tend to be more satisfied with the mediation process compared to litigation due to several advantages including the fact that spouses can discuss their interests in mediation and therefore have the opportunity to have their interests met.

Mediation can occur in person, over the phone, and through video conference. Depending on the circumstances, mediation meetings can happen with the mediator and both spouses together (often called “joint session”). Mediation can also involve the mediator meeting with each spouse privately (often called “private caucus”) to discuss the needs of each party and find a way to help the spouses come closer to common ground.

Unlike the public nature of the litigation process in court, in most states, “mediation confidentiality” is protected by law. This means that all communications in mediation and disclosure of documents are confidential.

How long does mediation in La Puente typically take?

In comparison to the unknown timeline of a full-scale divorce suit that will end up in a trial, the length needed to complete mediation will be clear early on in the process. The average length of mediation usually involves at least three to four two-hour mediation sessions, spread out over at least a month or two. More complex cases can take between four to six months to complete. In addition to the timeliness of mediation, you will never have to feel as though you and your children’s futures are in the hands of someone other than you and your spouse.

Is a mediator in La Puente like a judge?

A mediator is unlike a judge for several reasons. Most importantly, a mediator does not decide who is in the right or the wrong but rather focuses on finding a solution that meets the needs and desires of both spouses. A mediator will not impose his or her conclusions about how the issues should be solved. If necessary, a mediator might offer suggestions, but the most effective mediators will enable the spouses to generate their own solutions and agreements. Mediators do not make any kind of ruling on the case so spouses can spend less time trying to convince the mediator that they are right and instead focus on creating a joint resolution.

What should I look for in La Puente mediators?

Before committing to using the services of a particular mediator, spouses should confirm that the mediator has extensive training beyond the minimum requirements, has considerable experience mediating, is dedicated to helping spouses get the most out of the process, and is the right fit for the personalities involved.

Being a lawyer is not a requirement to be a mediator. Even if your mediator is a lawyer, he or she cannot be your lawyer because a mediator must remain unbiased. For mediation to be successful, it is critical that participants feel comfortable with their mediator’s ability to remain neutral. It is very important to seek the advice of your own qualified and trusted attorney, who will look out for your best interests, before committing to a settlement agreement.

Every mediator has a different approach to the process so all participants must be comfortable with the mediator’s personal style. Some mediators use an evaluative style: freely evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of each side’s case (in private sessions), to help them assess their alternatives and make wise choices in the mediation. Other mediators are more facilitative: refraining from asserting their judgments and instead facilitating a conversation that draws out the assessments of the spouses themselves. Transformative mediators are somewhat similar to facilitative mediators in that they are focused on the spouses’ needs and points of view. In transformative mediation, the spouses control both the process and the outcome. A creative mediator will be able to use any or all of these approaches when appropriate and may even ask the participants for their input regarding their desired approach. An effective mediator will manage the process in a way that moves participants forward, toward a resolution, with the spouses’ own unique goals and interests as a guide.

When searching for the right fit, most mediators will be happy to spend a few minutes speaking with a potential client at no charge to explain the process, answer any questions the client may have, and allow the client to determine whether the mediator would be a good fit.

Is La Puente mediation private?

Mediation is a private and confidential process; another advantage of divorce mediation. Spouses meet with their mediator as often as agreed upon to finalize an agreement they are happy with, with no public record attached. At the end of the process, the final agreement is taken to court to make it an official order, making that document the only public record of the divorce. The value of assets and debts can even remain private in your final agreement so that they are not explicitly shared in public records. One exception to privacy includes when divorce mediation is court-ordered. In that event, all matters prior to mediation will be public record.

Online Divorce Mediation: How It Works and Who It Benefits?

Online mediation is fast, efficient, and effective and may be more accessible for some couples. The sessions can occur over a multitude of video conferencing services like Zoom or Google Meet and if needed, via conference call. The mediator will engage in mediation as though they were meeting with the couple in-person and focus on facilitating a discussion geared toward coming to a mutually acceptable agreement. As mediation comes to a close and a final agreement has been written, documents requiring signatures can usually be signed and transmitted electronically.

Conducting divorce mediation sessions remotely provides several benefits for divorcing spouses, including:

  • Accessibility: Conducting a online divorce mediation session can be more comfortable than meeting with your spouse and mediator in-person. All you need is a phone or computer anda stable internet connection. An added plus is that it is generally easier to set an appointment that works for all parties involved because they can be squeezed into the middle of a busy day without having to spend time commuting.
  • Convenience: Couples are able to conduct sessions from work, at home, while traveling, or from wherever they might be. Given you can avoid traffic, travel costs, and looking for parking, couples can save lots of time. Online divorce mediation is especially convenient for those who travel frequently and/or have moved out of town, but still want to mediate their divorce settlement.
  • Comfort: Some spouses want to use divorce mediation butbeing in the same room as their spouse can bring up feelings of anger, distress, and pain. Online divorce mediation has the power to mediate those by helping couples (literally) maintain their distance while they work out their differences from a comfortable and safe space.
  • Increases options: If you live in a smaller town or rural area, you may find it difficult to find a divorce mediator in your area. Online divorce mediation provides couples with the opportunity to find a mediator that meets their needs without having to travel a long distance or settle for the closest mediator. 
How is property divided?

California is a community property state, which means that any income or property earned by either partner while married will be split equally between them during the divorce. California is only one of nine states that have community property laws. Decisions made in court will vary significantly depending on which state or country jurisdiction the agreement falls in at the time of the divorce. 

Mediation helps keep courts out of the division of property and instead places the decision in the hands of the couple and family. Through the help of an unbiased third-party mediator, couples experiencing a separation can resolve their issues regarding the division of property and debt without having to resort to a court’s decision-making process.

How are debt and other liabilities and obligations divided?

Debt division is included in the property division process and varies based on community property or equitable division status. It is common for couples to have accumulated high amounts of unsecured debt, with little asset acquisition during the marriage. In these cases, the debt division process is more complicated and if unresolved between the spouses, the courts will determine the division based on rationales provided by state law.By partaking in mediation, couples have the power to decide how they would like to divide debt and other liabilities and obligations without having to involve the court in the decision-making process.

How is alimony or spousal support determined?

Laws determining whether or not one party will be required to make support payments to the other party once divorced and how long said payment should be made vary by state. Community property states like California consider a wide range of factors that can be found in the Family Code Section 4320. Mediators can help reduce the conflict and tension that typically surround this issue and support both spouses in collaborating peaceably without the need to go to court.

What are the financial advantages of mediation over litigation?

Separating from your partner can be a costly process. In mediation, you control that cost. Divorce mediation is not nearly as expensive as a divorce trial or custody suit as a trial alone can cost thousands of dollars per day. Most family and divorce mediators charge by the hour and only charge for the time spent working on the case. Mediation generally costs between five and ten thousand dollars whereas one divorce hearing alone could cost that much. Having a separation agreement already prepared before beginning mediation can lessen the costs of mediation even further.

The money saved by choosing mediation over an exhausting divorce trial can be put towards children’s college tuition or even a few relaxing beach vacations to create lifelong memories with your loved ones.

Are there parenting resources available in La Puente before going to mediation?

Before going into a mediation session, all parents are encouraged to go through the parenting tools and resources on UpToParents.org like the Divorce Mission Statement and utilize the books and podcasts found on FocusOnTheFamily.com. The parenting site CoParenter.com provides easy-to-use tools to draft successful letters to your co-parent and to develop and tweak your parenting plan. It is also recommended that parents use the suggested age-appropriate parenting plans provided by the Orange County Superior Court and the communication tools of OurFamilyWizard.com as resources to help your children through this process.

What are the biggest benefits of divorce mediation for children?

When a child experiences a high-conflict divorce, it can leave lasting psychological and emotional harm. Although it may not be the parent’s intention, children often feel forced to choose sides. Parents may even actively try to alienate the child from the other parent without realizing the impact it can have on the child. As a parent, it is natural to want to fight to protect your relationship with your child but often it is the endless fighting that does the most harm.

Mediation reduces the likelihood of childhood trauma from divorce by reducing conflict, providing positive approaches to family communication, and demonstrating collaborative decision making. Parents are encouraged to consider mediation because of benefits including but not limited to:

  • Reducing stress for the child. Children will endure significantly less psychological and emotional stress when not having to choose sides or witnessing parents fight.
  • Ensuring positive relationships between parents. In mediation, parents are allowed to create a parenting plan that works for everyone involved, particularly the child.
  • Laying the foundation for long-term parental collaboration. Filing for divorce does not mean that parents should no longer work together to raise the child. Mediation lays the groundwork for parents to work together long after the divorce is finalized.
  • Preserving money for the child. A drawn-out battle can be expensive and time-consuming. Money is better preserved when put towards directly caring for the child.
  • Allowing you to spend more time with your child. The time spent in the courtroom during a divorce trial can be better spent with your child. Mediation is often a time-saver.

In countries where family mediation is an accepted adjunct to litigation, research has shown that in cases where mediation is utilized, there is greater potential for the development of optimal co-parenting relationships as well as ongoing parental cooperation. Research also shows that agreements reached through mediation are more likely to be adhered to by the parents. Parents’ ability to develop customized outcomes that meet their and their children’s unique needs and requirements during mediation are more likely to succeed in implementing the terms of the agreement.

Is an agreement reached in mediation legally enforceable?

Once your final agreement is presented before a judge and the seal has been set on your mediation agreement, it is considered a legally binding contract. For example, if you run into problems with parenting time, real estate conflicts, or any other point of contention after the divorce is finalized, any enforcement agencies involved in resolving those conflicts will refer to this order as law. Although the mediation agreement is a more informal and less expensive process, it is just as serious and legally binding once the process is complete.

How has Balakhane Mediation addressed divorce mediation in La Puente during COVID-19?

Balakhane Mediation is now offering Online Divorce and Family Mediation Services for clients in La Puente. Online services include private and confidential video conferencing for both the initial consultation and all mediation meetings. Choosing to engage in online mediation is easy, simple, and convenient!

This year has been a trying time for us all. As parents, our roles have intensified under unforeseen circumstances, and the pandemic makes us all worry about our loved ones and their futures. Co-parenting issues under the lockdown mandate can seem impossible, and the impact on salaries and the global market may generate uncertainty regarding your settlement agreement.

Leyla is here to offer her support and expertise to ensure that such matters are resolved for the benefit of both spouses and most significantly, the children. Please do not hesitate to reach out and let Leyla help you through these difficult times.

Sue Gramacy
Sue Gramacy
October 25, 2022.
I recommend Leyla Balakhane for resolving family disputes. She listens carefully, appreciates the emotions and needs that underline each conversation . She is genuinely concerned with the well being of all parties involved. She is very effective. What’s great is she always focuses on the best interest of the children. I have worked with Leyla for over 10 years and have watched her work her magic with families. Sue Gramacy
Stacey Lisk
Stacey Lisk
October 14, 2022.
Leyla Balakhane was one of the supervising mediators that worked with us at Edmund D Edelman Children’s Court. Given that she was one of the top mediators working on unlawful detainer cases, she was referred by a judge who found her to be incredibly gifted in what she does and felt that she would be a great asset in working with families. Leyla has a natural ability to connect with the families and helping them reach agreements that is far above whats required. Given that she was very interested in growing in her practice, she was able to help create a more in-depth and detailed parenting checklist which led to a higher success rate in or mediations at the Children’s Court. Because of Leyla many families have more profound and insightful agreements. I would add supervising mediator
Your RN Attorney Jennifer Johnston Terando
Your RN Attorney Jennifer Johnston Terando
October 12, 2022.
Leyla Balakhane is knowledgable, compassionate, and effective. I highly recommend her as a mediator.
Shsavina TehrNi
Shsavina TehrNi
October 10, 2022.
Thank you Leyla for helping us finalize a very difficult journey. We are able to have a better coparenting relationship because of everything you taught us. We are both very grateful for helping us resolve all issues in an amicable manner.
Rachel Hsiung
Rachel Hsiung
March 17, 2022.
Leyla is professional, patient and wonderful person to work with. She’s a good negotiator and listener to help her clients to get amicable results.
Noah Stern
Noah Stern
October 9, 2021.
Layla is a superb mediator. She helped my family through a tough time with ease. I highly recommend Leyla for any family going through a challenging time.
sepideh doust
sepideh doust
March 28, 2021.
Leyla Balakhane was my supervising mediator at children's courthouse. She taught me great communication tools to implement in my mediation practice. She helps the family, social worker, attorneys, and others involved in the case facilitate meaningful discussion and resolve the issues sent to mediation. Her level of wisdom is uncanny. She is able to bring awareness for parents to make the best decision for their family. I would highly recommend her as a skilled mediator in the field of family mediation.
Zak Shapiro
Zak Shapiro
January 22, 2021.
Leyla is an exemplary mediator for couples going through a divorce. She has the couples best interest in mind at all times through out the mediation process. She truly supports couples in making the best decision for them, whether its to help work towards reconciliation or agree on divorce terms. She helps couple find creative and collaborative solutions for their division of assets and debts. She is patient and understanding of what both parties are going though, and she carefully and thoughtfully helps to find a solution. I Cannot recommend her enough!
Matthew Khorsandi
Matthew Khorsandi
September 28, 2020.
Leyla is an incredible mediator with a wealth of knowledge and experience. Most importantly, she genuinely cares for the people she works with. Highly recommend.