When undergoing your own divorce, whether contested or uncontested divorce, it will undoubtedly be an emotional process. Once divorce papers are served, family members lives will begin to change and there may even be a grieving process and at times an element of judgment. Hence, there are two key things that would be helpful for your family when embarking on this path towards an amicable divorce.
The first is a divorce mediator that not only shares your belief that settling out of court is not the sole option, but also your top priority when you file for divorce. In fact, the second is for you to partner with divorce experts that can equip you with the right tools to represent your family’s interests during this time of legal separation.
On the important note of children, a divorce mediator will assist in matters surrounding custody, serving to put together an effective parenting plan in place to set your children up for future success. Overall, mediation prioritizes your children by reducing unnecessary conflict with the other parent around child custody and child support.
Through our extensive experience conducting hundreds of successful mediations, we specialize in supporting you throughout the entire divorce process. In fact, should you decide on our services during this time, we will provide you with our preparation checklist. We have designed our divorce checklist to provide you with emotional support as well as practical support during this time.
Our checklist will provide you with a greater understanding of the impending divorce proceedings. More specifically, we focus on supporting both you and your soon to be former spouse during the discovery process of important documents. These documents include financial disclosure such as credit card statements and credit card bills, bank account statements (separate bank accounts, joint bank accounts, savings accounts, credit reports, tax returns, retirement accounts, etc.), mortgage statements, medical bills, and other documents affecting your financial future. We are also trained in handling documents around marital property and marital assets.
In order to put your family’s best foot forward, you would ideally come prepared with a brief understanding of the mediation process, divorce process, and have all necessary legal documents ready to be deployed. When you know what to expect from settlement negotiations, you will find this process smooth and perhaps rewarding to a certain degree.
Divorce mediation offers you the peace of mind that you did everything you could to bring this chapter of your life to a respectful and peaceful resolution. Especially when you work with a private mediator who has both the experience and the time to invest in your unique case, divorce mediation comes with a myriad of advantages. These benefits can be amplified if you are prepared, as all the necessary information you bring to the table will help shape the choices you have and guide your following decisions.
To give you more incentive to prepare:
The Los Angeles county is one of our specialties as a large percentage of our private divorce mediation clients are filed under the Los Angeles Superior Court system. In Los Angeles, we can keep your matters as private as you need it to be. In fact, we have the option to speak more privately should the need arise. This confidential conversation, called a caucus, enables divorce mediators to gain deeper insight on the circumstances.
Divorce law in California is slightly different than law in other states, hence, it is important to understand its nuances. However, before diving into these specifics, you should check that your case falls under the California jurisdiction. Here are some key requirements:
If you have established that you meet these basic requirements, here are some key differences you should take note of:
California pioneered this concept, which entitles you to ask for a divorce should you feel that your marriage is no longer working. This process is unique as it does not require any period of separation, any proof of evidence to pin blame on a specific spouse, and even does not require consent from both parties. Do take note that for this divorce to become official, the process typically takes more than five months from the date of service of the Petition for Dissolution.
Due to California’s unique “No-Fault” stance, the court exercises discretion when considering the act of adultery. More specifically, the court typically takes adultery into consideration if the act damaged parent-child relationships or marital property.
California is one of the nine states that uphold community property laws. This law states that any assets or debts acquired during the duration of the marriage is owned equally. For instance, any money gained from the start of the marriage until the date of separation but excluding inheritances or gifts.
California, just like most other states, puts both parents on equal grounds when it comes to deciding which parent gets child custody. The court does not inherently favor either spouse, but instead prioritizes the “best interests” of the involved children.
When it comes to separating property and other assets between you and your other spouse, I will provide you with a list of documents required for the mediation and financial worksheets. During our first meeting, I will go over with you your concerns, your financial situation as well as your legal circumstances. Together, we will prepare and file all court mandated documents, such as the Petition and the Marital Settlement Agreement. If you wish to have your attorney or a private paralegal prepare your work, I will work directly with them to prepare an agreement that upholds the terms we have reached during mediation.
Understandably, the process of dividing debts and liabilities is mentally and emotionally taxing. After all, whether you’re a stay-at-home parent worried about losing the family home or the sole breadwinner that feels entitled to your hard work, there is an element of fear that you may lose your items in this process. Fortunately, divorce mediators are trained to handle this division by connecting you with the right experts to understand what you are entitled to and what you may have to let go of. The role of your divorce mediator is essential as they will guide you towards reaching an amicable and mutually beneficial compromise with your spouse.
Most divorce mediators will begin looking at the below:
Especially during the pandemic, many of us have been impacted in one way or the other. This may include being let go from a job, starting a new job, or even stepping away from careers to support children and households. While this may be a turbulent time, it is critical that you prepare the following documents to help provide an accurate picture of your income:
Divorce is already hard, but it is even harder on you as a parent. Not only are you dividing your assets, debts, and liabilities, but you are now also having to manage parenting time. Many couples who undergo divorce have a fear of family courts, but it is important for you and your spouse to focus on completing the evolution of your family. Divorce mediators are equipped to foster healthy communication, in turn reducing potential conflict between you and your spouse and thus, padding the trauma divorce may have on your children.
Your divorce mediator will assist you in reaching a peaceful transition towards collaborative co-parenting, and to speed up the process, you should come prepared with a working understanding of the following:
The divorce process will be less complicated and even less lonely when you partner up with a private divorce mediator. However, not all divorce mediators are the same, and these are the key qualities you should look for when choosing which divorce mediator to work with.
Your private divorce mediation process typically begins with a mediation consultation at no charge. This consultation is an opportunity for your family to learn more about the mediation process as well as the divorce mediator you may choose to move forward with. In addition, this consultation will allow me to gain an understanding of your family’s concerns and gain an overview of your family’s financial and legal situation.
During the consultation, you will receive answers to the questions you may have about both the mediation and the divorce process. If you choose to take your consultation with me, I will also provide you with a list of documents to prepare. This consultation will help build the foundation for your family as well as myself to ensure efficiency and effectiveness when we embark on your family’s mediation process.
On one hand, the traditional litigated divorce process include attorneys are hired on an hourly basis to go to court, execute the discovery phase, file court documents, as well as hire any relevant experts. On the other hand, the divorce mediation process has a single mediator doing the heavy lifting and coordinating experts such as appraisers or accountants only when necessary.
Compared to traditional litigated divorce, divorce mediation is much more economical and will come up to approximately 10%-20% of traditional litigated divorce. This is because divorce mediation focuses on cooperation, and cases are typically settled outside of court. By doing so, the divorce reaches fruition without any court appearances. Hence, attorney services can be used to complement divorce mediation on an as needed basis should you require legal advice.
While some couples feel like they have a good grasp of the divorce process, others choose to have attorneys represent them from start to finish. There are perks of doing so, as attorneys can directly advise you on any specific legal matters. Hence, on occasion, it is recommended to engage consulting attorneys should you wish to gain a deeper legal understanding of the divorce process. However, if preserving your finances are of top priority, it is more economical to engage an attorney should the need arise. For instance, each party could have their respective attorney review the proposed settlement agreement prior to signing.
While the divorce process can be emotionally and physically taxing, you can make this process smoother through proper preparation and engaging a seasoned divorce mediator. Ultimately, divorce mediators, such as I, are here to help you during this trying time. I sincerely hope that this article proved educational for kicking off your journey. In fact, there is a lot more I would love to share as I get to understand your unique circumstances. If you would like to learn more about the divorce mediation process, please reach out to me and we will set up our first free consultation!