Experienced Divorce Mediation Attorney in San Diego, CA
Renkin Law & Associates recommends that prior to a divorce case being filed and/or heard, all reconciliation and mediation avenues be addressed and exhausted before the petition is filed with the court.
Lawyers at Renkin Law carefully scrutinize and assess all divorce petitions and bring to light all available options to their clients. Although some couples might initially disagree, going to court should be the last choice for divorcing couples. The judge’s primary role is to resolve any issues the couple is unable to.
During a divorce mediation process, emotions run incredibly high and cooperation seems like an unattainable objective. If this scenario drags out, it can tie the process up,and both parties can accumulate massive financial hardship as a result. The end result is a prolonged healing process and will put their lives on hold until resolved.
To alleviate this situation, a settlement should be addressed through negotiation by your lawyer. A divorce professional at Renkin Law has the expertise to look at all options and determine which is the most workable and beneficial for each party in the divorce process. By so doing, you can retain many things that are important to you.
Renkin Law gives advice in order to negotiate for your best overall settlement. First, it is imperative to set your priorities at the onset. Second, it is recommended that each party knows beforehand what they are willing to concede, what areas to concede in and what areas you are firm on. Third, each party must be realistic and view the entire picture in order to know how to give and take. Fourth, do not react to any emotional outbreaks from the other party in order to end up with no resolution whatsoever. Fifth, whenever a settlement is offered, study it carefully before coming up with a response. Be open-minded to any and all settlement offers.
Resolving Family Disputes Through Mediation in California
Mediation is a very common form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in divorce cases. It’s considered to be an effective means of resolving any type of dispute that doesn’t require a third-party determination or a judicial ruling. That is one of the main reasons it is used for family law mediation issues in divorce cases in San Diego. The mediator is not a judge and cannot force one party or the other to do anything different. Instead, the mediator is a neutral third party who is able to help the two disagreeing parties negotiate a settlement they can agree on.
This is called facilitative mediation, and it can be used for spousal support, child support, child custody, guardianship and other matters. If an agreement can be reached, the judge in the divorce case will often sign off on that agreement. Some cases do call for the view or opinion of the mediator, and that’s called evaluative mediation. However, it is important to remember that mediation is not binding in the same way a court order would be, and the mediator cannot force either party to accept a particular agreement.
The parties can work directly with a mediator; or, they can each hire an attorney to represent them. However, due to the complexities involved in most family-related legal matters, it is generally advisable to hire a lawyer to help you protect your interests in mediation.
Mediation has a structure, a timetable and an element of participation that is not seen in traditional negotiation. Mediators often use a number of techniques to improve the dialogue between disputants, with the goal of helping the parties reach an agreement that works for everyone. Success depends on the skill and training of the mediator, who must remain impartial.
National Conflict Resolution Center Education
San Diego has many attorneys from which to choose. Differentiating between them means understanding and evaluating their education, credentials and experience, so you can choose the right one for your case. A key quality that sets the Law Office of Renkin & Associates apart from other family law practices in San Diego County is Richard Renkin’s Mediation Education with the National Conflict Resolution Center.
This training educates participants in new and different techniques for dealing with impasse, ethical dilemmas, money issues, high-conflict personalities and adaptations of the facilitative model in business and legal settings. Since not all divorces are simple, and high-end divorces can mean many discussions and disagreements over assets, having a good mediator can make a significant difference in the end result of your divorce case.
Reasons to Stay Away from Mediation
As we mentioned above, mediation isn’t for everyone. Here are some reasons why it might not make sense to use this form of ADR:
- In order to use mediation, one of the first requirements is that both parties are committed to the process. If they aren’t, in most cases trying to mediate will be waste of both parties’ time and money.
- For mediation to work, the parties have to be capable of reaching a common ground. If the parties are too far apart or too steadfast in their positions, they may not able to achieving a voluntary resolution.
- One party is susceptible to being unduly influenced by the other party. Mediation is supposed to produce a result that works for everyone, but sometimes divorcing spouses and other family members will try to use intimidation or manipulation to get what they want to the other party’s detriment.
- People often mediate before they have all of the facts. When mediation is used purely for its cost-saving efficiencies, this can lead to spouses and other parties agreeing to terms before they have all of the information they need to make an informed decision.
Importantly, you may not always know in advance if someone is willing to undertake mediation in good faith. For example, a spouse who is out for revenge or wants to try to deplete the other spouse’s legal fund may try to use mediation as a weapon rather than a tool for compromise. This is yet another reason to be cautious about jumping into mediation.
When We Recommend Using Mediation in a Divorce or Family Law Dispute
Despite these potential drawbacks, mediation can have substantial benefits under the right circumstances. So, when do we recommend mediation?
We typically favor the use of mediation in connection with litigation. What we mean by this is, rather than relying solely on mediation, it is often a more effective tool for resolving specific issues once a case is on track for trial. For example, say you are getting a divorce and you and your spouse are able to work together on a parenting plan, but are completely at odds on who gets what in terms of your assets. You may be able to mediate your custody arrangement in order to narrow down the issues that are truly in dispute.
Or, maybe your case has been on track for trial over the past several months. Now, you and your spouse have exchanged all of the key information, you’ve had time to process what is happening, and after preliminary negotiations, you think you may see a light at the end of the tunnel. In this situation, you may be able to turn to mediation to structure a fully-informed and cost-effective resolution.
Mediation Trained Divorce Lawyer in California
Whether you’re planning to litigate, negotiate or enter divorce mediation, San Diego-based Richard M. Renkin, Esq., CFLS, has a skill set that can only benefit you and your case. Through an intensive 32-hour course, Mr. Renkin gained knowledge and experience in the following areas:
- Conflict theory
- The stages of mediated problem-solving
- Balancing power
- Managing negotiations
- Strategic communication skills
- Handling emotions and impasse
- Mediator ethics
- Drafting agreements
- The role of attorneys, advisors and dispute resolution professionals
Since receiving training in conflict resolution, Mr. Renkin has mediated hundreds of cases for clients. He’s also served as a pro tem settlement judge and has a long history of acting as a settlement conference judge for the Superior Court.
Questions Answered about California Divorce and Mediation Costs
Q: What are the costs of a divorce mediation?
A: Many reasons exist for choosing family law mediation. Most importantly, mediation can allow you and your spouse to make your own decisions about your divorce in a manner that’s more cost-effective than taking your case to court. When you decide to resolve your disputes through mediation instead of a court proceeding, you’ll have a mediator who will ensure that any decisions made are equitable and fair to each of the spouses involved.
Mediation is a type of alternative dispute resolution (ADR). In addition to being a cost-effective method for handling divorce disputes, it allows spouses to be involved in the negotiation process. In other words, you’ll have a key role in determining things like property division and child custody.
Choosing mediation can also allow you to keep your children from being in the middle of your divorce. While litigation can create a substantial amount of anxiety for spouses, it can also have a detrimental effect on children. Mediation can help to keep animosity to a minimum, as it focuses on collaboration, negotiation, and agreement.
Q: I’m not sure that my busy work schedule allows for mediation. How many sessions will I need to attend, and how long will those mediation sessions last?
A: The length and number of mediation sessions vary depending on each case, but they usually last about 2 to 3 hours. Some couples can resolve their disputes in a short number of sessions, while others need more time. Mediation can be a good option for many professional fathers in the San Diego area, and it usually takes less time than a traditional divorce. We encourage you to speak with a San Diego divorce lawyer with experience in both mediation and litigation. We can help to determine whether mediation is a good option for you.
Q: If I opt for mediation, how long will I have to wait before my divorce becomes final?
A: Unlike a traditional divorce proceeding in California, in which you must wait 6 months between filing for the divorce until it can become final, mediation allows you to avoid that 6-month waiting period. Indeed, with mediation, your final judgment can be entered before 6 months have elapsed. Then, your official marital status will shift from being married to single on a future date that coincides with the 6-month rule.
Q: I’m concerned that my divorce case will hurt my professional reputation if my spouse contests matters like support and custody. Will other people know the details of my mediation sessions?
A: In short, the answer is no. One of the advantageous aspects of mediation is that all of the discussions that take place within your sessions are privileged and confidential. Indeed, California law specifically stipulates that “all communications, negotiations, or settlement discussions by and between participants in the course of a mediation or a mediation consultation shall remain confidential.”
We know how important your professional reputation can be, and even if your divorce ultimately requires litigation, we have the experience to ensure that you’re satisfied with the outcome. Contact a San Diego divorce attorney to learn more about mediation and litigation options for divorce.
California Family Courts Require Mediation for Child Custody Disputes
Family courts in California also require child custody disputes to go through the mediation process before parents can proceed to court, so it’s extremely helpful to have a skilled mediator on your side. We are experts at determining the right course of action and planning each step of the process to achieve the most advantageous solution for you.
For further support or advice, call our office at 619-299-7100 or email us to schedule a consultation with a San Diego divorce attorney.