Once you’ve decided to get a divorce, you must next consider how to proceed. In the past, many couples quickly made the decision to hire a divorce lawyer and go through the court system. By nature, that method is scathing and full of conflict trying to get the best outcome for yourself and your lawyer. Sometimes divorces can drag on and on much longer than one would expect depending on the extent of the conflict. Once you are before the judge, they don’t know you or understand your family situation.
Don’t get me wrong, the judge applies the law. However, they don’t have much time to spend on your case before making a ruling. Just by virtue of that constraint, not to mention how each lawyer presents their side, all of a sudden you have a ruling and a situation where no one wins.
Cut the Court
What if you tried a different method? Even if you feel there is contention between you and your soon-to-be former spouse, mediation can help you. Divorce mediation is a way to resolve divorce or disputes arising from the divorce that allows you both to control the outcome. You and your former spouse are making the decisions together, not a judge or a lawyer. You are also building a new relationship with your former spouse that will help you through co-parenting and the rest of your life where you should interact civilly and strategically for your children.
Mediators spend several hours with you understanding your family and situation. They are there to create your personalized, and unique approach to your family solution.
What are the Steps and How Does it Work?
In general, mediation consists of several joint meetings between you and your spouse that can last a couple of hours each. The mediator can also meet with each spouse separately to solidify issues and focus. With each person, the mediator focuses on the solutions that will be fair and useful to both parties and children.
In your meetings, you will identify issues that need to be resolved and work together toward a solution. The mediator facilitates the discussion and makes suggestions based on the information. The mediator is highly trained to help people resolve their differences and come to equitable and agreeable solutions.
How Does Mediation Work with Children Involved?
Mediation can be a lifeline for transitioning the family from what the child is familiar with to a refreshing and positive dynamic. Parents are focused on what is best for the child(ren) and try to work within that framework. Parenting decisions are made together and parents are taught techniques for resolving future issues. Parents also can re-visit mediation if new concerns or issues arise that might require a change in agreements.
Once mediation is completed the mediator takes your agreements and drafts your marital settlement agreement. You and your spouse can then take that agreement to an attorney to review and consult. Then the agreement is filled out and the divorce is final.
What Areas can a Mediator Cover?
Mediators cover a wide range of areas in the divorce arena. We see traditional heterosexual couples and same-sex couples on issues including Child Custody and Parenting Plans, Property Division, and Child, Spousal, and Family Support. West Coast Family Mediation Center also has extensive experience with mediation for blended and non-traditional families. We focus on the solutions that are right for your family.
At West Coast Family Mediation Center, our process is holistic and created to help the entire family, couple, and individual. We are committed to helping you grow as a family through mediation and will not “stir the pot” as is often the case in litigation. We have created our flat-fee process to provide an environment that is not more lucrative for us. Instead, the cost is agreed upon prior to beginning the process and our goal is to focus on you and your family, not the clock to ensure high billable hours. We offer a Free 45-minute consultation for you to get to know us and to give you an opportunity to see if we are the right fit to guide you on this journey ahead.
by: Jennifer Segura