Mediation and Collaborative Law Options
Cooperative Solutions for Divorce in California
Divorce, custody decisions, and other family law matters do not have to be settled through an angry, contentious litigation process. The team at Holstrom, Block & Park, APLC excels at guiding clients through a variety of processes that provide peaceful resolutions to conflict and allow for the development of custom solutions that meet your needs far better than a decision handed down by a judge.
You have options for resolving disputes in family law, and we can help you choose the best option for your particular situation. Mediation and collaborative divorce can significantly reduce the stress of a divorce by preventing animosity and giving you control of the outcome. However, if a cooperative process will not adequately protect your best interests, we are prepared to litigate to preserve your rights and achieve the outcome you deserve.
How Mediation and Collaborative Processes are Different from Traditional Litigation
When a divorce or other legal matter is settled through the traditional litigation process, attorneys for both parties work to make the other side look bad. They compete for the judge’s favor. The expectation is that one side will win and the other will lose, but often the judge’s decision pleases neither side and both parties feel they’ve lost. Moreover, the divisive process can destroy relationships throughout the family, so that not just the two parties in the case but everyone involved loses something in the process.
When the issues are resolved through mediation or a collaborative process, the focus is completely different. Instead of competing for supremacy, the parties work to find common ground. They–or attorneys working for them—negotiate results that meet their needs and priorities. All issues are resolved out of court and out of the spotlight, keeping matters private and isolating extended family and children from the conflict.
At the end of the process, the parties have an enforceable court order establishing the terms of their divorce or other issues, just as they would have if issues had been resolved through litigation. But the terms are of their own choosing, not an arbitrary decision made by a judge with only passing familiarity with your needs and goals. Relationships remain intact, allowing families to interact more amiably going forward. The process can also often be concluded much more quickly and with much less expense than when litigation is involved.
The Mediation Process
When divorce or other family law matters are handled through mediation, both parties may consult an attorney to understand their legal rights and help prioritize their goals, but the attorneys usually do not stay with them during mediation sessions. The parties meet with a neutral mediator who is trained to help them find mutually acceptable solutions to the issues that need to be resolved, such as how property will be divided and the parenting schedules for custody and visitation.
Like a judge, a mediator is a neutral third party who does not offer advice or favor one side or the other. The mediator may be able to explain the law regarding particular issues, but the mediator does not make decisions to resolve disputes. Instead, the mediator guides parties to their own decisions, and those decisions must be accepted by both parties. Issues may be resolved in one session, or it may take several sessions to reach agreement on every issue.
The collaborative process usually involves a team approach addressing each party’s needs not just with respect to the law, but also with financial matters and emotional processing. Each party has an attorney who is focused on protecting their interests. In addition, the team usually includes a financial advisor who can help formulate plans to provide the greatest financial advantages and a therapist or other mental health professional who can help parties address their emotional needs throughout the process.
As with mediation, the solutions are negotiated out of court, and may be completed in one or more sessions. Each party has a lawyer to advise them and advocate for them as they would in court, but instead of fighting against each other, the attorneys focus on working together to develop mutually acceptable arrangements. There is no judge or arbiter making decisions—the outcomes are all established by the parties themselves.
Holstrom, Block & Parke Can Help You Find Peaceful Solutions Through Mediation and Collaborative Processes
You can avoid much of the fear and anger that people often experience in divorce by using mediation or collaborative processes to resolve issues in a way that meets your particular needs. Our team of Certified Family Law Specialists and associates know how to protect your interests while guiding you to efficient and effective solutions that pave the way for the best future ahead.
We invite you to schedule a confidential consultation to learn how mediation and collaborative divorce could work in your situation.
Call (855) 827-6639 for a free phone consultation.
If you think these process may be a good fit your situation, schedule your orientation with us today. We will review your situation and explaining the benefits, risks, costs, and expenses, to empower you to make the best choice.