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How to know if mediation or litigation is the better choice

When you decided to divorce, you may immediately have begun thinking ahead and trying to plan your future, especially as it concerns your family life with your children. As most California parents can attest, regardless of whether they are divorced, life is unpredictable and there is no way to fully prepare for what lies ahead when it is impossible to know what's in store. However, you can plan certain things, such as choosing which divorce process best fits your needs and ultimate goals.  

If you're considering mediation because you want to get things over quickly, save as much money as possible and simply leave the past behind and move on in life with your kids, there are factors to consider to determine if this alternate form of dispute resolution is a viable option in your particular circumstances. It's true that mediation has many benefits but it's also true that it doesn't work for everyone. You can save a lot of time and money if you think about these issues before determining whether mediation or litigation would work best in your case.  

Collaborative law: A less expensive alternative to litigation

When California spouses divorce, the must make numerous decisions regarding negotiation of a settlement. In many cases, litigation is necessary, especially if those involved disagree about child custody, property division or support issues. Other spouses are able to resolve their differences through collaborative law, which is typically a less expensive option.  

Collaborative law not only costs less but also usually takes less time than going through a trial. One of the first decisions to make after choosing a collaborative process for divorce is to determine whether mediation or negotiation is the best course of action to create a settlement agreement. The processes are similar; however, a mediated divorce includes a neutral third party who helps facilitate peaceful discussions between spouses to work toward a just result

Collaborative Law: Is it a viable option for your divorce?

If you're one of many California parents who cringe at the thought of a long, drawn-out court battle as a means of achieving a divorce settlement, you may wish to explore options that are designed to be nonconfrontational instead. Collaborative law is meant to provide support in confidential settings for spouses who are determined to achieve amicable settlements. You may still encounter challenges along the way; however, you and your soon-to-be former spouse must agree to work together to resolve disagreements through peaceful negotiation process in a private setting.

Many people choose to settle their divorces through collaborative law because it is typically less expensive than litigation. All aspects of divorce are covered during meetings, such as tax implications, child custody, property division and spousal support. The difference in the collaborative setting as opposed to a courtroom is that spouses have control over the process and are working together to create a comprehensive settlement that is in everyone's best interests.

Judge hands down ruling in Deion Sanders child support case

Like many California parents who divorce, NFL superstar Hall of Famer Deion Sanders and his former wife agreed to share custody of their three children as part of their new co-parenting plan. However, certain issues have recently arisen that have complicated matters in the Sanders case. For instance, the judge who is overseeing this particular case recently ordered Sanders to pay more than $10,000 per month in child support.  

Back in April, Sanders and his now estranged wife had been sharing a mansion. At some point, an altercation broke out between them that resulted in police being dispatched to the scene. Both accused the other of abuse. However, police who investigated the situation ultimately determined that no abuse had taken place.  

Business owner from another state facing child support problems

California parents who are no longer connected through intimate relationships with each other but merely interact as necessary regarding their children often have court decrees that address the terms of their parenting plans. While the court may take parents' opinions into consideration on child custody or child support matters, once it issues a decree, all involved parties must adhere to the court's order, whether they like it or not. If one parent, for instance, refuses to pay child support that the court has ordered, he or she will likely face serious legal problems.  

A man known as the taxi king in another state understands this type of situation all too well. In fact, he was recently led out of a courtroom in handcuffs. The four police officers escorting him were taking him to his new, temporary residence -- a jail cell. The man is a taxi cab business owner (who has also faced legal problems regarding his business) who is the father of two children. It was his 14-year-old son's mother who sought justice for his alleged refusal to pay child support.  

Mediation could provide a foundation for healthy co-parenting

Your lives are stressful enough now that you face divorce without adding a courtroom battle into the mix. Even if you try to keep the proceedings from your children, they will feel your anxiety, stress and other negative emotions associated with litigation.

If you hope to build a solid, healthy foundation for co-parenting with your future former spouse after the divorce is final, then you may want to find another way to resolve your divorce issues.

A man in another state facing serious child support problems

Divorced couples in California, as well as parents who were never married, sometimes face problems regarding finances needed to provide care for their children. In many cases, the court orders child support. When there is an existing court order, both parents are obligated to adhere to the terms unless and until the court modifies the order in some way.  

If a parent is ordered to pay child support and is not making payments on time (or at all), local authorities are often called upon to execute a warrant for the person's arrest. There are many situations where a parent may have a legitimate need to delay or lower payments. However, this must be done through the proper legal channels. No parent can take it upon himself or herself to change a payment amount or time schedule.  

"Grey's Anatomy" star says child support ruling is unfair

Any California parent who is currently facing financial challenges regarding a former spouse may relate to Jesse Williams' situation. "Grey's Anatomy" fans know Williams as Jackson Avery, M.D., the fictional character he plays on the prime time TV drama. Some of his fans may not know, however, that in real life, Williams is engaged in a contentious child support dispute with his ex-wife.

The couple have two children together and Williams pays both child support and spousal support each month. A judge recently ruled that Williams' child support payments will increase to more than $50,000 per month. He is not happy about that at all, not because he is opposed to financially providing for his children. Rather, he believes his wife has misrepresented his children's needs to the court.

California divorce mediation: Who is most likely to try it?

All married couples have problems from time to time. However, most are able to find agreeable solutions to help them overcome any obstacles that arise throughout the years. That's not always the case, however, as evidenced by the high rate of divorce in California and throughout the nation.  

Which couples are more likely to choose to go their separate ways, regardless of how long their relationships last? A study that observed over 150 people for at least 13 years showed results that suggest there are several signs that point toward divorce court. One is whether or not a particular couple was overly affectionate when they first married.  

Divorce mediation: Is it right for you and who can help?

Deciding to end a marriage is no doubt one of the most solemn, significant decisions of a person's life. Many people in California have made or will make this decision in 2018 or beyond. Any number of extenuating issues may impact divorce proceedings, such child-related matters, property division or finances. If financial constraints are an issue, divorce mediation may be a viable option.  

Some people like to use the process of elimination to help them choose between several options. There are several issues that would prompt a spouse to scratch mediation off the list. Key signs that mediation would not be the way to go include a spouse with a substance abuse problem, a contentious relationship -- especially if domestic violence is involved -- and/or a spouse who refuses to cooperate or compromise to achieve an amicable settlement.  


Law Office of Edward S. Matisoff
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Westlake Village, CA 91362

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