Most of us don’t have extra money lying around that we want to use to pay attorneys to go to court to fight against our spouses in getting a fair divorce outcome. And, on top of the steep fees that often come with divorce litigation, almost no one enjoys the stress, delay, uncertainty and lack of privacy that comes with bringing divorce issues to court for a judge to sort out.
Thus, more and more divorcing spouses are choosing the path of private mediation as the preferred way to resolve their divorce, as it provides numerous benefits over litigation: the parties work together with a skilled professional (or professionals) to help them reach a fair, transparent, and mutually beneficial outcome; rather than paying two sets of attorneys high fees to negotiate or argue back and forth over substantive and procedural matters and sit in court all day to get a few minutes before a judge who may issue a ruling neither party likes, the parties can share the costs of a private mediator to help resolve these issues on their own terms; and the parties can mediate an agreement relatively quickly, outside of the tense and non-private atmosphere of a public courtroom.
Incorporating a Therapist in Your Mediated Divorce Process
While the very act of both parties choosing to mediate their divorce is a great step in the direction of saving time, money, and stress, it is important to figure out who you should have in your mediation team to get the best results. In some cases, a single person acting as a mediator can get the job done. In other cases, you may want to involve several professionals, which can include attorneys, forensic accountants, financial planners, and therapists, each of whom can bring their set of skills to the process to achieve your desired outcome.
A mental health professional (a.k.a “Divorce Coach” in a Collaborative Divorce) can be a wonderful addition to your mediation team, because they are often particularly skilled at, among other things, helping the parties to listen to one another and in helping each party understand the specific interests that underlie firmly held opposing positions and sort through those in a healthy and productive manner (not to mention a far less expensive manner than having sets of attorneys arguing over these issues in court). The therapist or Divorce Coach assists the parties to use problem skills and manage their feelings.
For example, two parents might be at each other’s throats over something as seemingly minor as who gets to retain possession of a child’s Lego sets. But, if what is really happening is that the parents know that the child is very attached to the Legos, and that each parent is worried that whoever gets the Legos will become the child’s “preferred” parent, the therapist can dig below the surface to work through these emotional issues and help the parties reach an agreement that both parties can live with.
First Steps in Working Towards a Mediated Settlement of Your Divorce or other Family Law Issue
Zonder Family Law Group is deeply committed to helping divorcing couples save money and avoid stress during a divorce, and we often recommend that parties pursue mediation – whether in having our office act as a mediator or in consulting with or representing a client in mediation before another mediator – as a way of resolving a divorce, or other family law issue such as non-marital custody cases and post-judgment modifications of custody and/or child or spousal support.
When you contact our office, we can discuss whether incorporating a therapist into the mediation process would benefit the process of reaching a mediated settlement, and whether it would be best to incorporate a therapist who has already been meeting with you and your spouse, or a new therapist altogether. We can further discuss whether incorporating other professionals such as accountants and financial advisors would benefit the process as well.
Although it may sound pricey to incorporate more than one professional in helping you reach a mediated resolution of your divorce or other family law matter, understand that a successful mediation involving multiple professionals is far more likely to be cheaper compared to the alternative of litigating for months and years on end, while also promoting peace of mind and avoiding stress.
Guidance on Your California Family Law Questions From a Westlake Village or Calabasas Family Law Mediator
Lisa Zonder of Zonder Family Law Group has acted as a mediator and attorney for men and women throughout Southern California in resolving their divorces fairly and efficiently. If you would like to learn more about how our office can provide guidance on any California family law issues you are facing in Ventura County or Los Angeles County, contact the Zonder Family Law Group office today.