The prospect of going through the divorce process is scary to everyone involved. The uncertainty of the future coupled with the loss of a support system and life that you have become accustomed to is enough to stress anyone to the max. On top of this though, the spouses going through the divorce process are expected to go to divorce hearings in a courtroom setting, a setting that, by definition, is adversarial. Many people look for alternatives to going to court for their divorce in order to relieve some of the stress and hopefully come to a better outcome. California is a state that offers several alternatives to the stress of divorce court. Here is what you need to know.
Mediation is a process that many are familiar with or have heard of but not gone through themselves. Mediation is considered a form of alternative dispute resolution from going to court. In general when mediating, two parties meet with a third-party neutral mediator who acts as a guide and intermediary. The mediator moderates the discussion between the parties, helps them work through any problem areas and reach a consensus on the dispute. It is an entirely voluntary process and either party and the mediator can withdraw from the mediation at any time if they believe that it will be unsuccessful or is unproductive.
The setting for a mediation is not a courtroom. Mediations often take place at a neutral site that both parties agree on and often involves the parties simply sitting down face to face and talking out the issues. Both parties may or may not have attorneys present with them. Mediation is not for everyone though and if there are issues that a court needs to rule on or hostilities are present between the parties, it may be best to go to court instead.
Collaborative divorce is a process that while similar to mediation is distinct from both mediation and the traditional courtroom hearings. In a collaborative divorce process, both spouses negotiate an agreement with professional help. There is no mediator, but both parties usually hire their own attorneys who advise and assist in negotiating a settlement agreement. Sometimes, counselors are used to aid respectful and effective communication snf to provide emotional support through the difficulties of the divorce process. The process can include other neutral third party specialists like accountants, financial analysts, and/or appraisers to assist in and valuing the marital assets and developing support options, or child welfare experts to advise on what may be in the best interests of the child when it comes to child custody arrangements. If the process is successful, the parties finalize a settlement agreement and send it to the court for approval.
There are many complexities when it comes to negotiating a divorce settlement. Even if you do not plan on being in a courtroom setting during your divorce it is still a very good idea to consult with a divorce attorney. Failure to do so may result in your interests not adequately being represented in your divorce settlement. If you are looking for an experienced divorce attorney, contact online or call the office of Charles D. Stark in Sonoma County at 405-232-7980. He can assist you in all your divorce and family law needs and is familiar with the mediation and collaborative divorce processes.