Articles Posted in Mediation

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Going through a divorce and settling all related issues can be trying. Most people want to put the marriage and legal issues behind them once the divorce is finalized. Unfortunately, this is often not the case. Frequently, a former spouse will return to court in the years following a divorce in order to revisit legal matters or raise new complaints. Each time you return to court can be costly, and acrimonious tendencies may arise again. It is always important to have an experienced family law attorney on your side, one who can help you get the outcome you deserve and make the process of returning to court easier amark sanfordnd less costly.

The Ongoing Case of U.S. Representative Mark Sanford

Mark Sanford is a member of the United States House of Representatives and a former governor of South Carolina. In 2009, Sanford disappeared unannounced for several days; his assistant claimed Sanford was hiking the Appalachian Trail. When he returned, Sanford admitted to having an affair with a woman in Argentina. Sanford’s wife, Jenny, subsequently filed for divorce. The divorce was granted and finalized in 2010.

The Sanford’s legal battle did not end upon the dissolution of the marriage. In 2013, Jenny Sanford filed a claim alleging Rep. Sanford violated their divorce agreement by trespassing on her property. Rep. Sanford stated he was in the home watching the Superbowl with his son; Jenny later dropped the claim. In July 2014, a legal dispute arose regarding trust fund contributions for two of their four sons. A family judge ordered them to participate in mediation to resolve the issue.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Jenny Sanford recently filed a complaint making several requests of the court. She stated the requests were based on a “substantial change of circumstances,” but declined to provide more information until the record was sealed. Her demands included the following:

  • That Rep. Sanford attend anger management and parenting classes, and undergo a psychiatric evaluation;
  • That the court appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the children;
  • That visitation between Rep. Sanford and the couple’s youngest son be limited;
  • That neither parent speak disparagingly of the other in the presence of their son;
  • That neither parent become intoxicated by prescription drugs or alcohol in the presence of their son;
  • That neither parent expose their son to a member of the opposite sex who seems like a “paramour” for an overnight visit.

In response to the complaint, Rep. Sanford stated that any accusations of alcohol abuse or psychiatric issues are “preposterous, crazy and wrong.” Some speculate that Jenny Sanford is still bitter that Rep. Sanford remained with his Argentinian girlfriend. No matter who is telling the truth, it appears the Sanfords are ready for another court battle.

Contact an Experienced Santa Rosa Family Law Attorney for Assistance

If your divorce was finalized but believe new issues may arise, contact an experienced divorce and custody lawyer at Beck Law, P.C. in the Santa Rosa area. We can help you with your divorce or custody case, and provide the tools for a out-of-court settlement to save you time and money.

Photo Credit: TheDigitel Beaufort via Wikimedia

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MediationDivorce mediation is a way for many divorcing couples to avoid the high costs and acrimony of in-court divorce proceedings. For these divorcing spouses, mediation offers an option that may resolve issues relating to your divorce in a manner that saves money and allows an end to the marriage on better terms than a court battle. For those individuals who choose this form of alternative dispute resolution, following are several tips for a successful mediation.

  • Understand the divorce mediation process and the role of the mediator Mediation is different than a court proceeding. Mediation is not about apportioning fault or blame. The goal of mediation is for all parties to reach an agreement with which everyone is satisfied. Understand that mediators follow different styles of mediation, such as facilitative mediation, evaluative mediation, and transformative mediation. Be sure to select a mediator who follows the style of mediation that will best help to resolve issues surrounding your divorce.
  • Give some thought to what is negotiable and what is not – Although it is important to enter a mediation with a flexible outlook, you should take some time beforehand to decide those issues that are negotiable and those that are not. You do not want to walk away from a mediation feeling that you have lost or that you bargained away something vital because you undervalued its importance at the time.
  • Know the mediation is an opportunity to think creatively – A court proceeding has a limited number of outcomes. Mediation is different. Parties in a mediation can introduce any number of solutions that a court would never consider. This is one of the primary benefits of mediation. Parties can discuss and decide a host of important issues related to a divorce that would never be resolved in court. Your mediation may be more successful if you recognize this benefit and approach it with a creative mindset.
  • Gather important documents and bring them to the mediation – Although the role of mediation is not to convince the mediator of the validity of your position (like you would a judge), it will be easier to negotiate with your ex-spouse if you have hard numbers and evidence. Be sure to gather financial information, such as bank accounts, savings accounts, retirement funds, stocks, or the like. Be sure to have documents related to important assets, such as real estate, vehicles, businesses, etc. Identify documents that outline the type and value of any debts held by you and/or your divorcing spouse.
  • Decide whether your attorney will be present – It is important to remember that a divorce has legal ramifications. Any agreement you reach with your divorcing spouse will affect your rights and responsibilities going forward. Decide whether you would like your attorney present during the mediation. If other parties are bringing their attorneys it is wise to do the same. If you do not have an attorney present, it may be wise to wait before signing any agreement to give your attorney time to review and provide feedback.

Getting Legal Help in Northern California

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Our Santa Rosa California divorce attorneys know that a divorce is an incredibly stressful event. The divorce process can be lengthy, emotionally taxing on everyone involved, and have major financial implications for both spouses. For some couples, there is another option to the traditional divorce process that can help avoid the negative consequences of a divorce. This method is called mediation. handwriting.jpg
What is Mediation?
Mediation in California is defined as a process in which a neutral person or persons facilitates communication between disputants to assist them in reaching a mutually acceptable agreement. What does this really mean? It means that a couple seeking a divorce will meet with a person that has no interest in the outcome of the divorce agreement in order to hash out the terms of their arrangement. The neutral person in these cases can be a family law lawyer, though the attorney cannot be an advocate for any single side in the case.
Generally a couple seeking a divorce through mediation will meet several times with the neutral person (mediator) within a short time period. In each session the mediator will encourage open dialogue between the parties in order to resolve any issues standing in the way of a divorce settlement. The goal of these sessions is to come to an agreement on all issues involved in a divorce in a timely manner and as stress free as possible for everyone.
Advantages of Mediation
Mediation can has many advantages for the right people in the right situation. Mediation can be less stressful and more affordable for couples than the traditional divorce route. For couples that are flexible on reaching an agreement the process of mediation can avoid the stress of a drawn-out court battle, not to mention the financial cost of such an action. These advantages can also greatly benefit any children that the couple has.
Disadvantages of Mediation
Despite its advantages, mediation is not always the right option for couples seeking a divorce. For example, if there are complex financial issues involved the parties will need greater help to determine a fair outcome than mediation can provide. Another reason mediation might not be right in your situation is when there is a degree of animosity between the spouses that could be a roadblock in reaching an agreement.
Marital Settlement Agreement
Once an agreement has been reached through mediation it must be finalized through a Marital Settlement Agreement in order to be binding. This agreement is a document where all of the details of the settlement reached in mediation are documented. The agreement is then signed by both parties and becomes legally binding as it is technically a contract.

Getting Legal Help in Northern California
If you are interested in learning more about mediation as a means to obtain a divorce settlement, Beck Law P.C. can help you. The family law attorneys of the firm can help you through this trying situation and help you determine which method of obtaining a divorce is best for your circumstances. For a free consultation regarding mediation, or a traditional divorce action, contact Beck Law P.C. at 707-576-7175 or contact us online.
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courthouse.jpgIn California, divorce actions can either be resolved through judgment and settlement reached after court proceedings, or through a mutual agreement established in mediation. In some cases the latter method of mediation is the most efficient in terms of cost and time. As our experienced Santa Rosa divorce attorneys know, resolving a divorce proceeding through mediation can be less stressful on all parties involved, including the children. However, mediation may not be for everyone. As with all family law matters, it is crucial to get advice from a family law professional to learn what options are best in your specific situation.

Mediation
Mediation usually involves a few sessions where the spouses meet with a mediator. The sessions are held within a set period of time, often a month. During these sessions, the mediator attempts to help the spouses resolve any issues that either party may have regarding their separation. Essentially, the mediator’s objective is to uncover any underlying interests and/or concerns that each spouse may have but are not able to resolve on their own.

Through open dialogue, the mediator helps the spouses establish agreements that address the discussed issues and concerns–from property division to support issues. These agreements are tentative and can be changed by the parties. The ultimate goal, of course, is for the spouses to reach a final agreement on all issues, allowing the creation of the Marital Settlement Agreement to be signed by both spouses. The Marital Settlement Agreement is drafted pursuant to the rules of contract law, thereby making the agreement an enforceable contract.

Mediation in California Divorce
Recognizing the complexities and stress involved with resolving a divorce in the courtroom, the California system makes a strong effort to offer several opportunities for the spouses to avoid the court system and reach an agreement before going to trial.

As discussed in a previous post, many people are overwhelmed with the divorce process and the paperwork. California law appreciates this and therefore requires that spouses and their respective lawyers meet before trial, allowing the parties a chance to establish a Settlement Agreement without being forced to face the complicated court system. During this required session, an unbiased attorney acts as a mediator and attempts to get the parties to reach agreement on some or all of the issues. The issues that cannot be resolved during the session will go to trial.

Getting Legal Help in Northern California
There are various advantages to resolve a divorce through mediation. This is particularly true if a couple has only a few disagreements or property division issues. However, more contentious cases, or those with complex property division issues, often must be resolved in the traditional sense–with each party having an advocate on their side arguing in court for their interests.

Regardless of which method an individual chooses, each Northern California family law attorney at our firm can help protect the individual’s legal rights in a divorce proceeding.

See Related Blog Posts:

Where do I File for a Divorce in California?

5 California Divorce Myths