PUJA SACHDEV | December 23, 2014 | Blog
Why choose mediation for your divorce?
Mediation is structured, goal-oriented sessions guided by a trained mediator. The mediator will facilitate the discussions and focus on resolution, not conflict. You will be able to clarify issues and your position to reach an acceptable agreement. Three essential reasons why you should mediate your divorce are maintaining your privacy, creating an enforceable agreement outside of court and minimizing your legal fees.
Keep your personal business to yourself.
When you file your divorce case, your court file is public information. If you have a litigated hearing in court, all of those documents are in your public court file and any argument about your case will be made in a courtroom occupied by the judge, court personnel, other litigants and their attorneys.
If you have a contested hearing about the custody of your children, there will be declarations in your public court file which may contain very personal information and unfounded allegations regarding your ability to care for your children. It is important to remember that your children after they reach the age of 18, can go to the courthouse and look at your divorce file.
If you choose the alternative of divorce mediation in San Diego, all discussions, documents and communications prepared exclusively for mediation purposes are generally confidential and are inadmissible as evidence to the court in any future litigation.
This is commonly known as the “mediation privilege” in California. The mediation privilege is well respected by the California courts and in most cases, your mediator is also prevented from testifying to the court about the specifics of your mediation discussions, other than the confirmation of the existence of the documented final agreement. Even when your mediation and divorce has concluded, the mediation privilege is not terminated.
The confidentiality of divorce mediation sessions allows you to suggest safe and creative solutions that cannot be used against you later in court. Mediation is also about negotiation and give-and-take. It is common to give up something or take on an added responsibility in order to reach an equitable agreement that you may not be willing to do if you were litigating your case in court.
The mediation privilege prevents these details and concessions from being used against you in the court setting and encourages resourceful outcomes. You can make an agreement the court would not have the ability to order with their limited jurisdiction and the court’s interest to divide assets and debts equally between the parties. When you are in charge of the terms of your Marital Settlement Agreement, you are in charge of the next chapter of your family’s life.
Why divorce mediation? Because courts like it.
The courts favor agreements the parties reached themselves and will, under most circumstances, find them enforceable. The courts also respect the mediation privilege and do not take it lightly if you try to violate the confidentiality from your mediation sessions. Despite what most people may think, the judges are exceptionally supportive of the mediation process and are pleased to find out a couple has chosen this route rather than litigating their issues in the courtroom.
For the past few years, the California court system has faced ongoing budget cuts resulting in an overreaching negative effect on the San Diego judicial system. Some of the unintended consequences are longer time to process court paperwork, delay of hearings and the absence of court-provided court reporters. For parties going through a divorce, it is taking longer to have your contested motions heard by the court and to have a trial date set.
Because of the court congestion, sometimes your matter may be continued, by no fault of your own, to another day even though your attorney has prepared or you have made arrangements with your employer to take the day off. Many of these delays cannot be avoided but can cause more turmoil in your life if the pending issues are child custody, child support, spousal support or are time-sensitive. By participating in the divorce mediation process, you will not be frustrated with court-imposed deadlines and court delays – you set the pace of mediation. You can proceed as slowly, or as quickly, as you choose.
Divorce mediation costs: Put your money back in your pocket.
There is no question that mediating your divorce, or post-judgment issues, is more cost-effective than hiring independent attorneys to litigate your case. Most attorney retainers are $5,000 which is the same cost of our basic Divorce Mediation package.
While you should have independent counsel review the final mediation agreement and advise you about your obligations, the cost of this is insignificant compared to the attorney fees you can incur through the adversarial divorce process. Mediation is not a substitute for having an attorney review the final agreement on your behalf.
The San Diego divorce mediation process also minimizes your legal costs by avoiding the go-between through third parties. If you and your spouse are represented by attorneys, you may have a concern which is presented to your paralegal, then to your attorney, who may contact your spouse’s attorney.
Then your spouse’s attorney will contact your spouse and the process is then reversed so that a response is relayed back to you. In mediation, your concerns and solutions are presented directly to the other party in mediation, or independently amongst yourselves. This saves you time and money.
In some circumstances, you can be ordered to contribute to your spouse’s attorney fees to ensure that both of you have equal access to legal representation during your divorce litigation. This is another reason why mediation may be more cost-effective for your case. Instead of paying attorney fees for both you and your spouse, you can put that money towards mediation to reach an agreement outside of court. Your money goes towards quality time mediating and completing the procedural aspects rather than litigation.
Our office offers Flat Fee Divorce Mediation (starting at $5,000) and Post-Judgment Mediation starting at $1,500). You can set up a 30-minute consultation with our office to find out more about our San Diego divorce mediation process and costs. Contact a San Diego divorce attorney for a free consultation.
The information and materials on this blog are provided for general informational or educational purposes only and are not intended to be legal advice. Being general in nature, the information and materials provided do not apply to any specific factual or legal circumstances. No attorney-client relationship is formed with any attorney employed by Sachdev Legal Group, APC nor should any such relationship be implied by the information provided or by any comments posted. The information provided is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction. If you require legal advice, please consult with a competent attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction. Past performance does not guarantee future results.