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Litigation aside, there are ways to resolve divorce legal issues

Divorce litigation sometimes turns into a bitter courtroom battle, and the family may have to withstand a lot of emotional and financial stress. Therefore, a spouse in California who intends to file for divorce may consider looking at the other options, besides litigation, that offer settlements outside of a courtroom. The court may sanction a divorce, without considering the impact that it may have on the people involved. Therefore, if the issues that lead to the separation can be resolved outside of court, it may save the family from potential financial and emotional stress.

One such way is to choose divorce mediation. The mediator is an impartial person who helps the spouses to reach an agreement. A mediator generally facilitates a discussion between the spouses who wish to live apart and allows them to settle all disputes by themselves, without any intervention from the court. The mediator is not the person who makes the decisions. Many local courts have a panel of mediators listed -- telephone directories and the Internet also provide information about the mediators in a particular area. The disputes that are not settled can be settled in court by a judge.

Another option is a collaborative divorce, where the spouses negotiate the terms with the help of a professional. Each spouse may consult that person's respective lawyers and meet in order to settle the issues. Professionals, such as child custody specialists and accountants, may also be part of those meetings and may help the couple to settle outside of the courtroom. However, in a collaborative divorce, the spouses and their lawyers need to sign a contract stating that neither spouse will go to court to resolve the issues. In the event that the contract is breached, the lawyers can withdraw from the case and the spouses can take the matter to court for a contested divorce.

Those methods help to minimize the negative impact that is generally associated with divorce. Therefore, if the disputes can be settled amicably between the spouses, there will be no reason to end up in court.

Source: California Courts, "Resolve Your Divorce or Separation Out of Court," Accessed on May 1, 2015

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John T. Chamberlin, Attorney at Law
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