Leaving the past behind and moving on in life in as swift and painless a way as possible is the ultimate goal of many California spouses who divorce. Spouses who hope to avoid going to court often opt for divorce mediation to negotiate the terms of their settlement. However, there are numerous issues that might suggest this or other forms of alternative dispute resolution may not work under certain circumstances.
California is a community property state, meaning most family court judges split marital assets 50/50 in divorce. Some spouses try to beat the system or gain the upper hand in property division, so they attempt to stash cash or otherwise hide assets. If a spouse suspects his or her former partner of this type of illegal activity, he or she will want to further investigate the issue and seek the court’s intervention to put it to a stop.
Litigation will no doubt be a necessity if a parent suspects a co-parent of child abuse, substance abuse or other forms of illicit behavior that would place children’s well-being at risk. Also, a key factor of mediation is that both parties must be willing to amicably discuss differences of opinion in order to work toward an agreeable compromise. Even if a spouse does not suspect his or her ex of abusive behavior, if every interaction results in a heated argument, mediation may not be possible because the whole point is to try to avoid confrontation.
To negotiate fair terms for property division and other divorce-related issues, both parties must agree to full disclosure. It is also necessary to be forthright and honest when discussing child custody, visitation or other important topics. If one of the spouses involved is a narcissist or someone who often distorts the truth, it is unlikely that alternative dispute resolution will work.
Divorce mediation is a viable option for California spouses who are willing to peacefully discuss their differences of opinion in an honest manner outside a courtroom. It pays to speak with someone who is well-versed in alternative forms of dispute resolution to determine if this would be the best course of action in a particular set of circumstances or if litigation might be necessary. Requesting a meeting with a family law attorney who is experienced in both litigation and mediation is often the best way to approach these issues.