Los Angeles Divorce Mediation Attorney
Have you and your spouse come to agreements on most of the details of your divorce, but simply are not seeing eye to eye on a few lingering issues? Perhaps it is your spouse’s wish to sell the family home and split up the cash, while you want to walk away with full ownership of the home, instead. Maybe you just can’t get on the same page with respect to the custody of your child or children. If you have considered the possibility that a little bit of outside help could push things in the right direction, then the option of mediation may be for you. With the assistance of an unbiased third party, you and your spouse should be able to come to an agreement and finalize the details of your pending divorce case.
Understanding the Mediation Process
Mediation is a great conflict resolution tool that can help to steer you and your spouse to mutually-agreeable resolutions in your divorce. In the event that you opt to go into the mediation process, a trained mediator will help you and your spouse dig into the root of the problems in your dispute and help you arrive at a fair resolution. This impartial third party, the mediator would not have the authority or power to impose any decisions on either party in the mediation. On the contrary, their role is limited to standing in as a liaison and intermediary. The decisions that are arrived at during mediation are completely up to the divorcing spouses. The mediator is just in place to help push conversations in a positive direction.
Why Should I Go the Mediation Route?
Mediation could be a fantastic tool when you are having difficulty coming to agreements on important decisions in your divorce matter. You and your spouse might wish to think about using mediation because:
- You stay in control over all final decisions;
- Other dispute resolution methods are generally much more stressful;
- The mediation proceedings are completely confidential;
- It is a far less expensive alternative to court; and
- Most importantly, it can help you and your spouse work through underlying problems that are at the root of preventing you from coming to a mutual agreement.
What Takes Place During Mediation?
Now that you have made the decision to go ahead and attempt to resolve your disputes via the mediation process. What should you expect from this process? What might you be expected to do to contribute to solutions? What does the process of mediation generally look like? Here below is a brief overview of what you can expect during the mediation process in your Los Angeles divorce.
Selecting The Right Mediator for You: So you and your spouse have decided to give mediation a shot. This is an excellent first step on the road to achieving mutually-agreeable resolutions to the issues involved in your divorce. The next step is to select a qualified, trained mediator to steer you through the process. The right divorce attorney for you should be able to tap into relationships with excellent mediators in Los Angeles and can assist you in choosing the one that is best for you.
Preparing for Your Mediation Process: As soon as you have chosen a mediator and set a date for the dispute resolution procedure, you should start preparing yourself. This preparation should entail creating an outline of the issues that will be discussed and round up your evidence to support the outcome you believe you should have.
The Initial Meeting: The mediator will call an initial meeting at the start of your scheduled mediation session. In the course of this meeting, the mediator will do a run down of all the guidelines that should be followed during the day. He or she will also reiterate the fact that the session is strictly confidential. Your mediator will also remind you and your spouse of what mediator’s job is, which is to steer you towards a mutually-agreeable decision. All final decisions remain your responsibility and are under your control.
A Joint Session: The initial meeting will commonly be followed by a joint session, during which the mediator sits down with both spouses in the same room. In the course of this session, you will both have the chance to give an opening statement and tell the mediator and your spouse what you would like to get out of the process. The mediator will utilize this session as a platform to nurture open and honest communication. If at all possible, the mediator’s goal is to get you and your spouse to engage with each other and talk out your disputes. The mediator will stand by as a referee, keeping you both civil and on topic.
The Individual Sessions: In some cases, a joint session is not productive or simply not the optimal way to resolve your issues. Should this be the case, then your mediator may ask you and your spouse to situate yourselves in separate rooms. The mediator will then talk with each of you privately in turn and bring your concerns over to your spouse. Throughout the session, the mediator will carry on moving back and forth between the rooms, attempting to drive the conversation in a positive direction.
The Closure: As soon as the mediator can see that you are both on the same page and are able to agree on the terms of your Los Angeles divorce, they will then bring you together into one room for final negotiations. This is the moment when you will have the opportunity to finalize your decisions and document them into a written document. The mediator will write up a contract that reiterates the terms you have decided upon and have you sign your respective copies of the contract on the spot. From the moment this contract is signed, it is a legally-binding document, and you will be required to adhere to its terms.
When you decide to get a divorce in Los Angeles, you and your spouse will be obligated to make a lot of decisions during the divorce proceeding. Before your divorce can get finalized, you need to come to agreements on how your marital property will be divided, who will have custody of your kids, and if either of you will receive any spousal support. It might be much simpler for you to agree on some of these details, but more difficult to agree on others. In the event that you and your spouse cannot agree on all of the details of your divorce terms, but you both wish to avoid a costly court battle, you may want to think about going into mediation. Call your Los Angeles divorce attorney for more information about the mediation process.
A good Certified Family Law Specialist knows that a divorce can be overwhelming. Your attorney also knows that mediation is an amazing tool that can help you lock down the final details of your break up. Contact us your lawyer today to learn about how you can get help navigating through a mediation process, avoid the costly expenses and emotional difficulty of a court battle, and finalize your divorce amicably.
Can I appeal the mediated agreement if I felt forced to sign?
It is possible for a person to enter into a mediated divorce settlement agreement for the wrong reasons. The situation at the time could have caused one spouse to feel they had no choice but to sign the agreement. It’s possible they got bad legal advice or had pressure put on them from certain family member and more. Should they regret entering into the agreement; there are things that can be done to change it.
This is a procedure that in some ways resembles litigation. Each spouse will agree to follow specific procedures as well as rules of law. What will be contained in their agreement is left to an arbiter or referee to decide. The role of an arbiter in this situation is to help both parties participate in the outcome of the divorce. A couple will be responsible for solving their marital issues on their own. The goal of the mediation is to create terms for a divorce that each spouse will agree is best for their individual situation. It’s important for divorcing couples to know an arbiter’s decision is binding. The divorce settlement agreement will be submitted to a Supreme Court judge for confirmation. A party may have grounds for an appeal if they can prove the arbiter’s decision was made arbitrarily or was based on mistakes.
It is possible to ask a court to modify a divorce judgment. This will require a legal motion to the court known as a motion to modify. It is possible during the court trial to ask for specific portions of the divorce agreement to be changed. This can be done even if the agreement has been signed and the divorce judgment entered into the legal record. The arrangements for spousal support, child support as well as visitation schedules can be changed with this motion. It is often made when something unexpected occurs during the proceedings. It could be one spouse being laid off from their job, a spouse being arrested for drugs or incarcerated and more.
Should the mediated agreement be accepted by a court, it’s possible to appeal this decision to a higher court. The fact someone felt forced to sign the agreement or experienced some other type of extenuating circumstance could be the reason for the appeal. These circumstances will form the basis for the appeal and will be written in a brief filed with the court by an individual’s attorney. It will argue the trial court judge made the wrong decision based on the arguments described in the brief.
Reopening Divorce Case
It is also possible to submit an application to reopen a divorce case. This will only be successful if the person requesting it is able to show mistaken negotiations took place, there was fraud or misconduct. It may also be granted if the party requesting the action is able to show the divorce agreement is based on unfairness and inequity. Doing this can be a challenge. A person requesting it must be able to provide solid proof the divorce agreement was based on a serious mistake, fraud or deceit.
The goal of an attorney during a divorce proceeding is to help their client have a sense of control over what is happening in their life. Things can go wrong, and it is possible to still find an acceptable resolution when this happens. In many cases, court intervention may not be needed but can always be used if necessary.