Deciding to divorce is a difficult and emotionally distraught decision. The court process is often a foreign process and difficult to maneuver in the midst of dealing with myriad emotions and addressing the practical consequences of a decision to separate.
The process begins when the person filing for the divorce, known as the "Petitioner", files a specific set of documents with the court. These papers are "served" on the other spouse, or "Respondent." Once the other spouse is served, it takes a minimum of six months and one day for a divorce to be finalized in California. In the meantime, both spouses must exchange information regarding their assets, debts, income and expenses. Spouses may also come to an agreement regarding the division of any community property, allocation of community debts, determine custody and support for any minor children born of the marriage as well as agree on payment of spousal support. If the spouses cannot agree, either one, or both, may ask for a trial on any issues that are not agreed upon.
We believe in the rights of every individual to make decisions in their lives. We can provide information and assist individuals so they understand their rights and alternatives to court through mediation and collaborative divorces. No matter what assistance has been requested we advocate for the best possible result for each and every one of our clients. We work with both traditional and same-sex couples that are seeking to dissolve a domestic partnership or marriage.
Family Law Mediation
All types of family law matters can be mediated. Mediation enables the parties to make decisions about what is best for them, and their children, rather than a judge. During the process, the parties will address, discuss and resolve all the issues that will be written into their agreement. Because the mediated setting is relaxed though structured, it allows parties to negotiate with each other in an atmosphere of dignity and respect. Common issues dealt with in Family Law Mediation:
- Scheduling time with Children
- Spousal Support
- Child Support
- Property Division
- Financial Issues
- Matters of Concern for Unmarried Couples
- Modifications of Marital Settlement Agreements, child support and custody orders
Mediation can be a relatively short to an extended process, depending on the issues involved and the needs of the parties. Sessions are usually 2 hours in length and parties can finish in as few as 3-4 sessions or it can take 10-15 sessions. Mediation is not about winners and losers. It’s about helping parties reach agreements that work for them and their children.