Folsom Divorce Mediation Lawyer

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Your Folsom Divorce Mediation Attorney

You may assume that in order to get a divorce, your only option is to go in front of the court and have a judge make the decisions. That is far from the only method, and for many couples, it isn’t even the best option.

Alternative dispute resolution includes different approaches to divorce that do not involve going to court. Divorce mediation is one type of ADR that works in many situations.

While mediation can help you avoid litigation in your divorce, you still can use the guidance of an attorney, such as the experienced and knowledgeable divorce lawyers at McCunn Law.

A Folsom Divorce Mediation Lawyer You Can Trust Call (916) 773-6100

Mediation Vs. Court

To make your decision easier, it will help to compare mediation to litigation. You can then easily see how both can help you finalize your divorce but how they take different paths to get to that conclusion.

Mediation involves a neutral third party who facilitates discussions between you and your spouse. Mediation lets you control the conversation, and the mediator is just there to help keep communication open and on track. The goal is working together to reach a mutually acceptable agreement where you separate your lives.

You have the chance to have meaningful discussions. You can get to the heart of issues, and uncover your true desires, which will lead to easier decision-making that proves beneficial to both of you. The mediator will ensure the divorce negotiations proceed in accordance with California state laws and answer any of the couple’s legal questions during their discussions. Mediation takes only as long as the divorcing spouses require to negotiate the terms of their divorce into a mutually agreeable arrangement.

In mediation, your attorney acts as an advisor. He or she can give you legal advice and make suggestions. He or she will not take over negotiations.  Your lawyer may speak with your spouse’s attorney if you ask for that, but typically, your attorney is only there is assist when you need it.

In contrast, when you go to court in Folsom, CA, the judge is fully in charge. If the judge wishes to make a decision or ruling, he or she has every right to do so without consideration of what you want. In addition, the court setting is one side versus the other. It is less about working together and more about battling it out. One side emerges victorious from a courtroom because that is the general goal when people go to court.

While divorce law aims to provide fairness, the courtroom atmosphere still allows for one party to feel as if he or she is the winner, and the other party is the loser. This is not ideal for a divorce where you need to work together, and the law should ensure equality and what is best for everyone involved.

In the courtroom, your attorney takes the lead as your representative. He or she will generally handle all communications between you and your spouse, speaking through his or her lawyer. Your attorney will manage everything from negotiations to dealing with the court.

Both situations end with the court finalizing your divorce, but the path to get there is vastly different. Mediation can bring some sense of control and peace to the situation, whereas going to court often causes emotions to boil over because it takes away control and doesn’t encourage working together.

What Can I Negotiate in Mediation?

It is not uncommon for divorcing spouses to assume their cases are too complex to negotiate and that litigation is the only option. With an experienced Folsom divorce mediation attorney assisting you, it is possible to approach difficult divorce cases with confidence and take full advantage of the benefits of mediation.

You and your spouse may choose to have your respective legal representatives attend some or all of your mediation sessions. Some of the things you may need to discuss include:

  • Separate ownership rights. Some assets, such as things a spouse owned prior to marrying and inheritances, remain their owner’s separate property through marriage and divorce. However, it is possible for some property to transmute to community property in certain situations. Your Folsom divorce mediation lawyer can help you establish your separate property ownership rights in divorce proceedings.
  • Child custody and support. If you and your spouse have children, the court will rule in favor of protecting their best interests if you litigate your divorce. However, your idea of your child’s best interests will likely differ significantly from the court’s interpretation under strict legal statutes. You and your spouse can use mediation to develop a mutually agreeable parenting plan you may not have been able to arrange through litigation. It’s also possible to come up with a mutually agreeable support plan, and your respective attorneys and the mediator can ensure the agreement aligns with state law.
  • Property division. Any assets deemed community property of both spouses is subject to a strict 50/50 division in a California divorce. Once you have negotiated your separate property and have fully valued the remaining community property, it is possible to exchange assets for others of equivalent value so long as both spouses emerge with as close to an even share as possible. It’s not uncommon for divorcing spouses to civilly negotiate and compromise on property division through mediation, even if the shares are very slightly uneven. On the other hand, litigation may coerce liquidation of many marital assets and a strict 50/50 division of the proceeds, even if this goes against the spouses’ wishes in some cases.
  • Alimony and spousal maintenance. Many divorcing couples earn unequal incomes, and the sudden shock of self-reliance is very difficult for many lower-earning spouses. Alimony or spousal support exists to ensure a lower-earning spouse has the financial support to continue enjoying a similar quality of life to that which they had while married. Alimony is often granted temporarily until the recipient remarries, cohabitates with a new partner, or meets specific income requirements. Permanent alimony may also be negotiated or awarded at trial if the recipient is too old or medically unfit to work, has a severe medical condition or disability, or has a clear need for long-term financial support.
  • Debt responsibility. California’s community property law applies to marital property and marital debts alike. The divorcing couples may argue responsibility for certain debts, but generally, all debts incurred by either spouse during the marriage become the shared responsibility of both spouses. One possible exception to this could be a hidden credit card or other debt one spouse deliberately concealed from the other.

Divorce mediation allows a divorcing couple to negotiate these terms and develop more individualized divorce agreements. Once the couple has negotiated their terms, their attorneys and the mediator can assist in drafting a proposed divorce agreement, which is then sent to a Folsom County family court judge for final review and approval. Unlike divorce litigation in which everything said at trial is recorded in the public record, all of your mediation sessions remain confidential, and only the divorce decree becomes public record. Divorce mediation is the best option for any divorcing couple that does not wish intimate details about their marriage to become public knowledge.

How Mediation Works

By choosing to go through divorce mediation, you choose a path that allows you to guide your divorce. As long as you and your spouse are both willing to have open discussions and work together, this process can result in a conclusion to your marriage where you both walk away satisfied. Even in a bitterly contested divorce, it can be possible to smoothly negotiate some factors of a divorce before proceeding to litigation for a judge to settle matters on which a divorcing couple cannot negotiate. For example, it is possible to mediate child custody and support privately and leave property division determinations in the hands of a judge. Divorce mediation will ultimately streamline these divorce proceedings.

Mediation occurs in sessions where you, your spouse and the mediator come together to hold discussions about important points, such as child custody, property division, alimony and spousal support. You will need multiple sessions, but how many you need and how long the process will take is dependent on how well you and your spouse can agree.

Before starting the process, the mediator will probably talk with you and your spouse separately. This initial meeting is to allow the mediator to discover what topics you need to hash out. It gives him or her an idea as well of the level of conflict between the two of you. The mediator will use this information to develop a plan of action for the rest of the process.

Once you meet in a session with your spouse, you will discuss the topic at hand. Ideally, you will resolve each issue within a session, but you may need to have multiple visits to discuss one topic. For example, if you have children, you will have to develop a parenting plan, which is complicated and may take a couple of sessions to complete. While mediation may require several sessions to complete, it may not be necessary for you and your spouse to have your respective attorneys present for every session, saving you money on legal fees. The mediation process itself usually only requires a fraction of the time required for litigation, allowing both divorcing spouses to resolve their divorce and get on with their lives faster and with more personalized results.

As you work with your spouse in the sessions, it is essential that you listen to him or her and really consider what he or she says. You should also expect your spouse to do the same. You want to cooperate and reach final decisions on which you both agree. This is especially true for divorcing parents. Many find that mediation sessions and the development of a mutually agreeable parenting plan can lay the groundwork for a successful future coparenting their children.

In the end, you will hopefully have a final divorce settlement that you can present to the Folsom court for approval. The judge will review your proposed divorce agreement to ensure it is comprehensive and aligned with California state law. After the mandatory six-month waiting period, your divorce decree can be granted.

Addressing Common Concerns About Mediation

You likely still have some questions about mediation, especially if it new to you. It may help to get some additional facts and advice about the process.

To begin with, your mediator cannot give you legal advice. He or she must be entirely neutral and cannot take sides. For this reason, having your own Folsom attorney is a good idea. You will need someone to answer legal questions and assist you with situations that may require applying CA law.

In addition, your attorney is someone working on your side. While the mediator’s job is to ensure equality in the process and allowing you both to speak, sometimes a dominant spouse can overtake discussions. If this happens, your lawyer can speak up and express concerns that you are not able to have a voice in the proceedings.

You can make the process go more smoothly if you enter it knowing what you want. You should be ready to fully explain what your needs are and why they should be met. Be prepared to answer questions and provide evidence, if needed, to strengthen your arguments.

Many people worry that their case is too complicated for mediation, but that is probably not an issue. Mediation can work in almost any situation. Mediators can pull in experts to assist, such as forensic accountants or family counselors. These experts can clarify a couple’s financial status, ownership rights, child custody disputes, and support eligibility. All of these proceedings happen privately in a relaxed atmosphere so that everyone in participation can easily follow and join in discussions productively.

Get Started

No matter how much tension exists between you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse, it is vital to consider the expense, stress, and time that heated divorce litigation will cost you. While it may be difficult for some to imagine civilly negotiating divorce with their spouses, the process is ultimately easier than litigation in virtually every respect. Divorcing couples can keep their divorce negotiations private and firmly within their control, reach more personalized results in their divorce agreements, reduce the chance for future divorce disputes, and walk away with peace of mind when choosing mediation over litigation. The right Folsom divorce mediation attorney can be incredibly helpful in this process.

If you think mediation may work in your divorce and you want to learn more about the process in Folsom, CA, then please contact us as McCunn Law. You can speak with a family law attorney who can answer your questions and help you start the process. Please see our office address or give us a call at (916) 773-6100.

Why Choose McCunn Law

Our methods for handling business owner divorce and family law issues are unique. We offer legal assistance for a range of family law cases, including:

Mr. McCunn specializes in a holistic, project management approach which empowers you to make your own decisions throughout the process. He has a reputation as a peacemaker and his honest and pragmatic attitude towards divorce and other family law issues ensures you only pay for the services you need during your case.

“McCunn Law is a high-quality and highly knowledgeable legal team. I went into a consultation regarding child custody and was extremely happy with the plan and ultimately the results of my case. They create a plan with the client’s needs and wants in mind. Drummond is also great working with regarding what kind of budget a client would be able to afford. If I have any more legal needs in the future this is the office I will use every time.”

Megan P.

“McCunn Law is a high-quality and highly knowledgeable legal team. I went into a consultation regarding child custody and was extremely happy with the plan and ultimately the results of my case. They create a plan with the client’s needs and wants in mind. Drummond is also great working with regarding what kind of budget a client would be able to afford. If I have any more legal needs in the future this is the office I will use every time.”

Megan P.

“McCunn Law is a high-quality and highly knowledgeable legal team. I went into a consultation regarding child custody and was extremely happy with the plan and ultimately the results of my case. They create a plan with the client’s needs and wants in mind. Drummond is also great working with regarding what kind of budget a client would be able to afford. If I have any more legal needs in the future this is the office I will use every time.”

Megan P.