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Divorce mediation and collaborative law keep the client in charge

Many California residents who are contemplating divorce may be worried that they will have to go into a court and argue over who is at fault for the end of the marriage. Some may actually be looking forward to that experience. But in most cases, it's better to minimize the amount of time the parties have to be in the courtroom.

The majority of divorces in California today are considered "no fault." This means that neither party has to prove that the other is to blame for the breakdown in the marriage. Rather, they both agree that their differences are irreconcilable. While this is never an easy thing to do, in a divorce it's the relatively easy part.

The hard part comes when the parties have to decide how to divide their property, and, if they have young children, how they are going to handle child custody. If they can't decide, the court will decide for them. Letting a court decide these matters tends to make things more time-intensive and much more expensive. It also tends to make individuals feel like they are losing control of the process.

The best way to hold onto that sense of control and to keep costs down is for the parties to reach agreement on as many issues as they can outside of the courtroom. This way, the court can review their agreement and, in most cases, approve it so that the divorce can go forward.

To reach this kind of agreement, the parties can sit around a table with their attorneys and argue their way toward some kind of settlement. However, it's often helpful to have a neutral third party facilitate the discussion. This is the role of a mediator.

Collaborative divorce is an increasingly popular new approach to divorce mediation that seeks to help divorcing spouses reach an agreement in a way that minimizes the emotional stress that so often accompanies divorce.

While this approach isn't for everyone or every divorce, it can help people going through divorce to reach a fair settlement at a lower cost, with less antagonism and with more of a feeling of control than they might have using traditional methods. California attorneys with experience in collaborative divorce can help people to understand the approach so they can decide whether it meets their needs.

Source: Huffington Post, "How To Find A Good Divorce Mediator? Your Five Rules Of Thumb," Michelle Rozen, Jan. 11, 2015

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John T. Chamberlin, Attorney at Law
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