Family law cases can be challenging regardless of the circumstances. In California, it is not uncommon for people in the middle of a divorce to fight over every single issue. Despite that, people are not always butting heads as they end a marriage. They could have their own positions as to how they want the case to go but are flexible and willing to be reasonable in trying to come to a settlement. Mediation is useful in these cases, but there are many options available. One that might not be widely known – but has specific attributes – is integrative mediation. Before considering it, it is important to know what the term means and how it works.
Understanding integrative mediation in California divorce cases
Integrative mediation is a relatively new approach to conflict resolution. Not only does it look at the facts, but it considers other issues that could have contributed to the problem and strives for solutions. This includes legalities, finances, psychological considerations and emotions. When all the bases are covered, there are fewer lingering worries. This might put the pieces in place to settle things without going to court.
In these cases, there is a legal professional and a mental health professional working in tandem. They will assess the problems the people had that led to the decision to divorce and look at what they are asking for in the divorce. That could include child custody, parenting time, distributing property and more. Addressing the problems comprehensively could be useful at every level.
Integrative mediation can work for those who want to forge an agreement they can maintain; are trying to be respectful and even friendly with the other party; know there is more to the divorce than just their emotions; want to have a positive relationship after the fact and do not just want to move on with no more contact; realize that lingering personal issues might have contributed; and have the flexibility to listen and learn.
While integrative mediation might sound like something unusual that is only effective for people who are on good terms, it is a wide-ranging strategy that addresses problems from multiple angles. The bulk of attention on family law cases centers on disagreement. There is a perception that people who are ending a marriage are angry and want to get back at the other person. These cases undoubtedly exist. Still, people may be simply looking to move on and want to achieve a reasonable settlement.
There is something to be said for having a peaceful solution. Not only will this avoid the stress of an acrimonious family law case, but mediation can help the parties bridge the gaps that led to the divorce and they can forge a stronger relationship. When children are involved, this can only be a positive. Whether the parties are young, middle-aged or older, they can benefit from a fruitful negotiation. Sometimes all they needed was a neutral party to listen, give advice and gently move the conversation forward.
Having experienced assistance from legal professionals who have been involved in family law for nearly three decades is useful to keep costs in line and end the case. The best-case scenario is a peaceful divorce with the sides parting ways satisfied with the outcome. A holistic approach can be helpful. Regardless, it is always wise to understand the entire process, specifically with something that sounds relatively new like integrative mediation.