Selecting a Mediator for Your Orange County California Divorce
What is Divorce Mediation?
Selecting a Mediator for Your California Divorce?: Divorce mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution that can be used in place of litigation during a divorce in California.
During mediation, the divorcing couple will work together with a neutral third party mediator. The goal of mediation is to establish a line of communication between the divorcing spouses or partners, and to come to agreements on the terms of the divorce.
Mediation can be used to determine any part of a divorce, including the division of property, division of debts, child custody and child visitation, child support, and spousal support. Anything that is agreed upon in mediation will need to be approved by a judge before it can be signed into a court order.
Although the divorcing couple is not allowed to have individual attorneys present, it is always advised to have an attorney look over the mediation agreement before signing it.
Who Can Be a Divorce Mediator in California?
A mediator’s job is to help the divorcing couple talk through their issues so that they can work together to come to an agreement on the terms of their divorce.
The mediator should facilitate a discussion, but as a neutral third party, and cannot give advice to either party.
In many cases, a divorce mediator is also a family law attorney,a judge, or another legal professional. It is always important for the mediator to remain neutral, but having a mediator with legal expertise can be helpful in a divorce case.
To find mediators near you, look on the internet, talk to your local bar association, an attorney, or the court.
How to Select an Orange County Divorce Mediator
Throughout your divorce, you will be spending a lot of time with your mediator. Consider the following when choosing your divorce mediator in California.
Neutrality – Divorce mediation only works if the divorce mediator is neutral. A trained mediator will be able to facilitate communication between you and your spouse or partner without choosing sides, but it is always important to meet and interview your mediator before agreeing to mediation. In order to maintain neutrality, a quality divorce mediator will encourage both parties to consult with separate divorce attorneys throughout the mediation process, and prior to signing the mediation agreement.
Previous Meditation Experience – One of the reasons that attorneys make great divorce mediators is that they have experience negotiating divorce agreements. Although your mediator is a neutral party, having knowledge of the law and experience working through divorce agreements will give you a leg up throughout the divorce mediation process. Your divorce mediator needs to be able to analyze and facilitate your discussion, and guide you, according to the law.
The Cost of Mediation – Any time you hire a professional, it is always important to consider the cost of the services. Filing for a divorce can cost both time and money, but mediation allows you to control how much of each you spend on your divorce. Consider your budget, and remember that hiring one mediator is usually less expensive than two full time divorce attorneys throughout the litigation process.
Like attorneys, some mediators charge a flat rate, while some charge hourly. A flat rate makes the cost of divorce easier for you and your spouse, but an hourly fee means that you and your spouse can spend as much or as little time in mediation as you want to, allowing you to have more control over what you ultimately spend.
Meet Your Mediator – You will spend a lot of time with your mediator, so an in person interview is an important part of choosing the right one for your family. Meeting your mediator will let you know whether you get along, whether you think your mediator could be neutral, and give you a feeling about how hands on or laid back your mediator will be. Ask a mediator about the process he or she usually uses, so you can understand how your mediation will work. Choose a mediator who gets along with both you and your spouse or partner.
The Divorce Mediation Process in the OC
The process of mediation can vary depending on the mediator with whom you choose to work. Usually, the process of mediation begins with your initial appointment, once you have hired a mediator. At your first meeting you and your spouse or partner will agree on set goals for the mediation process. The mediator may have you sign a mediation agreement, and even assign homework to be taken care of before the next meeting.
It is important to make sure to do all of your assigned homework. This may mean thinking about what you want, it may mean collecting and bringing in documentation regarding debts and assets, your financial situation, or the children.
The amount of time between appointments, the amount of time spent in appointments, and the length of time before you come to an agreement is all up to you and your spouse or partner. You and your spouse or partner will discuss the topics that you set in your mediation agreement with your mediator at each meeting until you come to an agreement.
A great mediator will advise both parties to consult with a divorce attorney who is not connected to the mediator or the other party’s mediator prior to signing the mediation agreement.
When both parties agree to the mediation agreement and all topics in the original mediation plan have been discussed, the mediator can submit the agreement to the court for approval. If there are any topics that the couple was unable to agree upon through mediation, those topics can be brought to the court, and determined through litigation or by a judge.
Only once all topics have been agreed upon can a divorce settlement be signed and a divorce finalized.
Selecting a Mediator for Your California Divorce, consider an Orange County California Divorce Mediation Attorney
If you are considering mediation for your marriage, discuss your options with a skilled divorce mediation attorney. At Yanez & Associates, our considerate family lawyers are here to help you and your spouse or partner work through your divorce. Contact us today to schedule your free initial consultation, and discuss your upcoming divorce mediation.