Divorce is a painful and sometimes traumatizing experience for both couples and family members. Traditional litigated divorce can aggravate tensions and create confrontational face-offs over everything from property division to custody.
Fortunately for California, alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods are growing increasingly popular and available as alternatives to litigated divorce. A divorce that is handled out of court takes much less time and is less expensive than a traditional divorce proceeding. Also, many people do not realize that a divorce that is settled before a judge becomes part of the public record.
ADR methods offer a less confrontational approach that not only is private, but also provides opportunities for both parties to explore options that allow each to come away with something of value. This leads to a more peaceful and even amicable settlement, which is good not only for the couple but also the children.
Two possible out-of-court options
Mediation and collaborative divorce have become more common and available in California in recent years, and each has effective methods of bringing the two sides together to resolve points of contention in order to reach a peaceful divorce settlement.
In mediation, a neutral third party, often a family law attorney trained in ADR methods, works with both sides to try to find points of agreement. The mediator uses methods that facilitate the resolution of conflicts, but the process leaves the outcome in control of the parties involved.
Mediation is appropriate in situations where strong emotions are getting in the way of resolving conflicts between the two parties, as well as for couples wishing to preserve their relationship. Mediation is often a very cost-effective method of out-of-court settlements.
Collaborative divorce brings to the table not only both spouses and their attorneys who are trained in collaborative divorce methods, but also a mental health professional and often a financial advisor, to come up with solutions so that the needs of everyone are met.
The collaborative divorce method focusses on the needs of the client, and as an interest-based negotiation, the attorneys use their skills to negotiate rather than threaten. This approach eliminates the zero-sum game that can dominate a divorce proceeding, and lead to an amicable settlement.
Finding a family law attorney in Petaluma and Sonoma County skilled in ADR methods can offer options for a peaceful transition to a new life chapter for everyone involved.