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One of the first thoughts many people have after recognizing that a divorce is inevitable is to find a lawyer. You may be unaware that there are other alternatives, such as mediation. This is a time limited confidential process in which both you and your spouse meet with neutral third parties who help you decide on the division of parenting responsibilities, where your children will live, how decisions will be made, and the financial issues of property and support. In many cases, mediation yields a more satisfactory resolution than an extended legal battle. How do you know which is right for you and in the best interests of your children?
While every case is unique, are are some broad guidelines:

  • There is a history or current threat of violence in the family.

    You cannot talk or negotiate freely if you fear for your safety.
  • Animosity between you and your spouse is so great you could not sit in the same room together.

    If being together triggers severe stress, better to leave the direct communication to an attorney.
  • Your partner refuses to disclose financial information.

    Good faith negotiation cannot occur if one person is withholding vital information.
  • You and your partner, even with a third person, are unwilling to discuss the choices available.
  • Your partner is unlikely to keep regular appointments.
  • To talk directly wto a ligiation lawyer, call 949-752-2727. Asl for a ligiation lawyer.

  • Your primary concern is your children's well-being.

    Research shows that when there is less parental conflict during and after the divorce, children adjust more easily and are more likely to meet their potential as they reach adulthood.
  • You are considering joint or shared custody. Mediators are trained to write detailed agreements covering a wide angle of issues and situations as they relate to parenting.
  • Despite intense hurt or anger, you want to keep the process as civil and peaceful as possible.

    Mediation offers an opportunity to improve and keep the lines of communication open for future cooperation as parents, even as your children enter adulthood.
  • You are unable to spend thousands of dollars in court costs and lawyers' fees.
  • You want to maintain some control and dignity during a very difficult time.

    During a separation and subsequent divorce, your self esteem can get pretty battered. The winner/loser mentality of the litigation process often aggravates those feelings. Mediation, on the other hand, rests on the premise that each person has legitimate concerns.
If you are still unsure which way to proceed, consider consulting with both a mediator and an attorney. Some professionals offer free or low cost initial consultations. Ask questions about the procedure, time frame, costs, payment method, the percentage of cases they successfully settle, other expert consultants you would need in the process, and any other question you feel has not been answered to make you feel comfortable in making an informed choice. Remember that you can stop mediation at any time and hire a lawyer to litigate. Or, if you've started working with a lawyer, you can shift to mediation, then return to a lawyer for legal advice and to file your mediated agreement with the court. To talk directly with a mediator, call 949-752-2727, ask for mediation information.
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