Orange County Divorce Mediation and Law Blog

Divorce mediation offers an alternative

When ending a marriage, California couples have a number of options to pursue. A divorce doesn't need to be an angry, drawn-out courtroom battle. If the separating partners are open to working together, alternative solutions can help to create a mediated divorce agreement that ends a marriage relatively quickly.

A courtroom divorce, in which the parties make their case before a judge to secure court orders for the applicable legal issues like property division, can still be a good option for couples. This is especially true in the case of couples whose marital history or current relationship tends to prevent them from working together to produce an agreement.

Nesting as a custody arrangement may work for some parents

In some California divorces, the children may actually have the most difficulty when it comes to dealing with major changes in their family and the structure of their home life. While in the past the children would usually live with their mother and see their fathers every weekend or every other weekend, parents are becoming more innovative when it comes to parenting time and child custody arrangements.

For example, some former couples are trying a child custody arrangement known as nesting. For this, the children stay in the family home and the parents take turns living there. The idea behind this arrangement is that the children retain some stability and security. Some couples rent another home or apartment nearby that can be used by both parents when they do not have the children.

The benefits of divorce mediation

California residents who are going through a divorce may shudder at the thought of having to go to court. However, mediation may be a possible alternative to settling a divorce through litigation. They can be ideal for those who are going through an uncontested divorce, and in some cases, a mediator can turn a contested divorce into an uncontested one.

One the biggest benefits of mediation is that it is not an adversarial process. Instead of each side trying to make the best argument to win a case, each side is encouraged to work together to create a solution that works for both parties. Parties to a mediation session retain full control of the scope of a mediation session as well as the terms of any settlement. If a couple takes a divorce through litigation, a judge may dictate the terms of the final order.

How to have an uncontested divorce

California couples who are ending their marriages may hope they can do so without going through protracted litigation. In an uncontested divorce, a couple comes to an accord outside of court about issues such as the division of property and then takes the agreement to court to have it approved.

However, even with an uncontested divorce, people should keep a few points in mind. Regardless of how amicable the process may be, they should still do their own research to make sure the other spouse is disclosing all assets and debts. The parties should have separate counsel to help protect their interests. People should fully understand the value of debts and assets they are dividing and should bring in an appraiser if necessary.

Summertime visitation schedules

For California kids who split their time between two homes, it can be difficult for when they are older to have to spend time away from their friends and social networks during the summer. However, there are certain things that parents who have the children for extended summer visits can do to help the situation.

One of the most important things that a co-parent can do is to keep communication up with the primary custodial parent and the children, especially if the parenting plan allows for this. This way, non-custodial parents are able to connect with their children when they come for extended visits. This can also allow parents to keep schedules similar, making the summer transition easier for the children. Parents should also attempt to get into their children's routines, especially if the children are older. Older kids likely stay up later and get up later during the summer, so picking days to stay up later give the parent and the kids a chance to connect.

Resolving parenting plan disputes

When California parents of young children get a divorce, they may find themselves unable or unwilling to cooperate when it comes to the parenting plan, especially if they have schedules that vary widely. Even if the parents have spent some of the past arguing, there are still steps they can take to regroup and reach an agreement that works for everyone involved.

First, parents should make a list of their absolute priorities for the parenting plan. For example, if a parent wants a certain holiday with their children, this should go on the list. Next, parents should talk to each other about what days are important for them. This may open up a discussion about potential compromises. Parents should utilize their prior scheduling to back up their requests. For example, if the ex had the children for birthdays last year, a parent could negotiate for birthdays this year.

The advantages of mediation in divorce

California parents who are getting a divorce may run into some conflict over child custody. However, going straight to court and having a judge decide is not their only option. Parents can work with a mediator first to try to resolve their differences. Mediation has a number of potential advantages.

The litigation process is adversarial while the process of mediation is focused on collaboration. Mediation may be better for children because it creates less conflict, and a mediator's neutral approach ensures that both parents' concerns are heard. Mediation reduces the focus on blame and seeks instead to create a parenting plan that is in the child's best interests and with which both parents are happy.

Divorcing with children

When California parents consider splitting up, the focus might be on their emotions and not how the divorce could potentially affect their children. However, parents should keep in mind that divorce can have a dramatic impact on the kids involved.

Parents will have to make decisions about when to file and how to manage the family until the separation becomes official. Many parents file for divorce in March. Unfortunately, this can cause added stress for kids who are in school as they suddenly have to deal with family changes on top of homework and other responsibilities. While waiting to file until the summer can help, parents must still be able to live under one roof peacefully. If they cannot, then separating as soon as possible so that the children's living situation can remain calm may be more appropriate.

Parental relationships impact children the most

Being a parent in California or anywhere else can be tough. However, how two parents get along with each other can play a big role in the development of their children. This is generally true whether the parents are divorced, still married or the adoptive mother and father of a child. In fact, it may play a bigger role than how involved a parent is in a child's life.

If parents don't get along, there is a chance that one will withdraw from his or her responsibilities as a parent. This may result in the other parent being responsible for raising the child almost on his or her own, and this may lead to problems for the parent and child. It may also lead to a situation where one parent is trying to impose rules or boundaries while the other does his or her own thing.

Benefits of divorce mediation

Divorce mediation can be used by California couples who are ending their marriages to resolve their issues without having to engage in contentious and expensive litigation. In many jurisdictions, mediation is a prerequisite of going to divorce court.

Mediation is considered to be more civilized than going to trial. It often takes place in the office of the attorney of one of the party or in a mediator's office. With each party and his or her attorney in their own conference room, the mediator will engage with each side separately. The divorcing couples who go through mediation are not compelled to agree to anything, nor does the mediator have the authority to make a decision on behalf of either party. The function of the mediator is to guide each party to a middle ground so that they will be able to come to an agreement. The mediator will preferably have experience in family law and will be able to advise if a certain position on an issue will be accepted by the court.

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