Articles Posted in Mediation

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mediationDetermining Child Custody and Visitation Through Mediation. No parent wants to have to fight for time with his or her children. In an ideal world, parents would see their children as often as possible and would never disagree about what is best for them. When parents do not live together, where the children should live and when they see each parent can become a contentious issue. Whether it is part of a divorce or the parents were never married, mediation may be the best way to create a consistent and beneficial parenting plan for the children.

What is Mediation?

Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution that is used to avoid going to court. The parties along with their legal counsel and a third-party mediator meet to discuss the issues and come to an agreement. An attorney is not required, but having a lawyer to counsel you on your rights reduces the risk of you agreeing to an unfair settlement.

The purpose of the mediator is to have an objective person who can help the parties come to a compromise. He or she facilitates communication and keeps the conversation focused on what matters.

Once the parties come to an agreement, the final decision is put into writing, and depending on the situation, submitted to court for approval. An agreement reached during mediation is not binding, but once it becomes a court order, it is.

Mediation and Divorce

Sometimes couples choose to use mediation for their divorce. Instead of arguing through attorneys and only meeting in court, mediation allows for spouses and their legal representatives to meet in a confidential and safe environment to discuss their options. It is often faster and cheaper than taking the entire process through the court system.

Mediation for Child Custody and Visitation

In some child custody proceedings in California, a judge will require parents to work with a mediator to decide on custody. This may be after the case is transferred to family conciliation court, if the country has established one, or while the case remains with the superior court.

A judge may feel it is important for parents to sit down and talk and come to a decision about what is best for their children before he or she has to step in a decide for them. Even if it is not required by a judge, parents may find it best to go to mediation to tackle child custody issues instead of trying to do it on their own.

A mediator helps parents focus on what is best for the children, how they can maximize time with their children, and how to move past issues of anger and resentment for the children. Continue reading →

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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.

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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.

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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 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.

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