Divorce is rarely simple, and it can be an extremely stressful process to go through. This is especially true if you are not prepared to handle the difficulties of contentious spouses, the prohibitive costs of divorce litigation, and the complexities of property division, child support, child custody, and more. In this respect, it is important to make the right decisions regarding how you approach your divorce case, who you hire to help you achieve your goals, and how you conduct yourself during the process.
How Mediation Can Help Your Case
A mediator is a third party who meets with you and your spouse to mitigate any arguments or disagreements and help you reach a favorable compromise. In California, mediators are experienced attorneys who have been required to complete an approved mediator training program via California family court. As a result, mediation can help you ensure your agreement meets your needs and will also be approved by a family court judge.
Hiring a mediator to help you craft your separation or divorce agreement is a good choice for most couples. For couples who are having a tough time agreeing on complicated matters such as child custody or complex property division, a mediator may be the best option. Mediation can help avoid arguments and ensure you can develop an agreement that suits both parties. This can shorten your time spent in court, which can save you thousands of dollars and reduce your stress in the process.
Avoiding Problems During Mediation
While mediation is extremely helpful in reducing conflict and saving you money in court, it will only be effective if both spouses are willing to participate productively. To prevent problems during mediation and family court, it is important for you to know what not to do during mediation. Avoid doing these things during mediation:
- Keeping Secrets During MediationEven if you are not on the best terms with your spouse, it is important to be open and honest throughout the mediation process. This entails being honest about your assets, household duties, and work responsibilities that could interfere with your ability to take care of your children, expectations, and values. If you are ever uncomfortable sharing during mediation, you can request a private meeting to disclose vital information to be shared during open mediation.
- Coming UnpreparedAlthough you are paying a mediator, and likely an attorney, to help you, arriving at your mediation unprepared will only lengthen the mediation process and cost you more money. Before mediation, remember to do your homework. Ask your mediator what you need for the first meeting and compile all the necessary paperwork, such as your account/financial information, proof of your assets, and parenting plan. This homework may involve working with your spouse to determine your goals for the mediation or deciding on a rough agreement that could be polished in the mediation room.
- Not Being a Team PlayerNo one wants to give up half of their belongings or share time with their children. However, during a divorce, it is what must be done to keep matters fair. If you are unwilling to compromise at your mediation, you will only lengthen the process and accumulate a higher bill. The longer you refuse to compromise, the longer it will take to work out a separation agreement with your spouse and the mediator. Compromise is not always a perfect solution but consider that refusing to be a team player will only make the process more complicated for all involved.
- Too Much CompromiseIn the opposite regard, it is important for you to avoid compromising too much. You may think that the easier or cheaper option is to just agree to the solutions posed by your spouse. However, it is important to remember that once your separation agreement is accepted by the court, it becomes a legally binding contract that cannot be broken. If you are not advocating for your interests in mediation simply to avoid conflict or save money, you could be stuck with an arrangement that you are not happy with. Eventually, you may need to negotiate an adjustment to the terms of your divorce.
- Being Mean or Hateful to Your SpouseYour mediator will understand that you are getting divorced for a reason or that the divorce was not your choice. However, this does not give you an excuse to cause problems during your mediation by being mean or hateful towards your spouse. Insulting others or making snide remarks toward your spouse during mediation does not look good on your part and will not accomplish any results that will advance your position. Too much negativity could even lead to the necessity of litigation, which will cost even more money and take even more time. Instead, be agreeable and kind while still asserting yourself in a respectful manner.
- Negative Interactions With Your Spouse Outside MediationIn order to avoid more problems or outbursts that could potentially be used against you in court, try to only speak to your spouse when your attorney or mediator is present. This can ensure that no conversation between the two of you gets out of hand and that interactions stay civil and productive.
- Choosing an Inexperienced MediatorIf you are working with an attorney, your attorney will be able to recommend an experienced mediator. If you are selecting a mediator on your own, do not be afraid to meet with each candidate and ask questions before deciding who to hire. Look for a mediator who has years of experience as a family law attorney as well as plenty of familiarity with California mediation.
Vista, California Family Law Attorney and Mediator
Divorce can be one of the most stressful situations you will experience. It is bound to be full of highs, lows, and times when you want to give up. Through the roughest patches of divorce, it is important to keep your head and make positive decisions to achieve the most beneficial outcomes for both of you. The more willing you are to work with your spouse in mediation, the quicker you will be able to establish normalcy and stability in your new life.
If you are in the Vista, California area, our firm can help. With two decades of experience as a family law attorney and years of skilled mediation services, Attorney Paula D. Kleinman and the team at Paula D. Kleinman, APLC, will help you ensure your mediation results in a favorable settlement with minimal stress. Contact our firm today to begin moving forward with your divorce and into the rest of your life.