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Is mediating your divorce the way to go?

When you are going through a divorce, there is a kind of tunnel vision that can occur where you only see the outcome that you want and are closed to other available options. Maybe you are focused solely on retaining physical custody or keeping the home and refuse to entertain alternative scenarios like shared custody between homes or putting the house on the market.

Ultimately, that sort of intransigence can be detrimental to your case and your bank account. But more and more couples seeking a California divorce are turning instead to mediation to help them reach accord on their issues. Below is some information that those seeking divorce may find useful.

How mediation can work for you

Because the process of mediation focuses on solutions, it can be much more expedient and cost the divorcing couple far less than litigating their divorce ever would.

Mediators observe the couple's style of communication and work within those parameters to facilitate the mediation process. They have the spouses each define their primary goals prior to actually negotiating to achieve those goals.

Mediators keep the process civil

While sometimes the two spouses can be present during the negotiations, in more contentious cases, the mediator can move between spouses and their respective counsels of record and relay offers and counter-offers. This can keep the animosity down between the former partners when the issues are hotly contested. This is important, because there is a myth that to mediate a divorce, the spouses have to be on good terms.

That's simply not the case, although both should agree to remain open-minded about the process and their individual goals.

Your negotiations remain private

Anything that takes place in a courtroom remains part of the public record. Unless these records are sealed by the court, they are accessible to anyone who has the time and the inclination to seek them out. But such is not so when a couple chooses to mediate their divorce. The process is not public and the issues remain private.

You will still need to retain an attorney with mediation

Although many mediators are attorneys, not all are. But in the mediation process, your mediator represents neither you nor the spouse you are divorcing. Both of you will retain your own family law attorneys who will advise you throughout the entire process and review any proposed settlements.

Is mediation right for you? Only you and your spouse can make that call.

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John T. Chamberlin, Attorney at Law
699 Peters Avenue
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Pleasanton, CA 94566

Phone: 925-271-5650
Fax: 925-462-0837
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