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Myths of Divorce Mediation: 2013: San Diego Legal Separation, Paternity and Divorce

What Is Divorce Mediation?

In San Diego divorce and legal separation mediation is about a couple their own seeking divorce meeting with a mediator - an unbiased third party to work out the issues pertaining to divorce. For parties in a divorce or legal separation in San Diego Superior Court there are only a few alternatives: self representation; Family Law Facilitator; paralegal; mediation or separate counsel for each party. As with all issues in life, there are advantages and disadvantages to all strategies. For San Diego residents, there is the option of the Family Law Facilitator which is located in each court house which may not be available in other counties or states.

For all divorce and legal separation and paternity cases, the goal is to resolve in accord with the law [or more favorable] with the minimum in life disruption. One of the most traumatic experiences in life have to do with child custody and where children live and also the division of assets and debts and support both child and spousal.

Many attorneys do not practice in mediation believing it is not possible to represent both parties who are in an adverse situation. For example, if you and your spouse are driving on the I-15 in San Diego and are rear ended by a drunk driver, then you and your spouses interests are exactly the same as against the driver who caused the accident. On the other hand, in a divorce, paternity or legal separation, most often the interests are adverse. Payors want to pay less. Payees want to get paid more. Parents want the children to live with them most often. As such, it may not be possible for one attorney to represent both parties interests 100% however there are many mediators who believe they can.

The objective for mediation is to resolve all issues in an amicable environment and in a significantly less expensive manner since there is only one attorney hired and not two. Divorce mediation is meant to cover all relevant issues including:

  • Distribution of assets and liabilities arising from the marriage
  • Child custody and visitation rights
  • Child support and spousal support
  • Retirement
  • Taxes

While in mediation the couple works through these issues. If no solution can be found or if you come up against a stumbling block the mediator intervenes. The mediator’s job is to help the couple in their decision making process by keeping them communicating, suggesting ideas and keeping them focused. Mediation can be a quick, confidential, and flexible way to resolve conflicts a couple may have without acrimony and without court appearances.

Mediation is a voluntary process which works as long as the three people involved in the mediation are in favor of it and are genuinely interested in using it toward an agreed conclusion. However, a number of people are not very clear about divorce mediation which has created a number of myths. In this article we shall examine some of these myths and determine the true position.

I’m in Favor of Mediation but It Would Never Work With My Ex-spouse

So the two of you can’t be in the same room together without a fight? This is what mediation is all about. The mediator is there to keep you both focused on the issues at hand and not allow a situation to get out of hand. A quality mediator will not stand for raking up old disputes and name calling. Only the issues that count will be addressed. The advantage of using a mediator is that there is only one attorney. The disadvantage is, that if the mediation does not work, then both of you have to hire different attorneys since the mediator cannot represent either party in the divorce, legal separation or paternity.

The Legal Profession Is Against Mediation

That may have been true way back in the 1970s when divorce mediation was not as common as today. By 2000, divorce mediation was embraced by the American Bar Association to the extent that it was party to devising the model standards which apply to the mediation process.

A Mediator Will Try to Bring Us Together Again

A mediator is no marriage counselor or marriage therapist. A mediator is there to help you both find a solution which is mutually acceptable to separate you, not reunite you.

How Do We Find a Good Mediator?

There are ways for you to identify a sharp and superb mediator. Here are some things to look out for:

  • Is the mediator an active member of the State Bar of California?
  • Does the mediator have training or education or experience in the mediation process
  • Research the mediator on line and look at their website and references and ask for referrals
  • Is the mediator committed to the principles enshrined in the Model Standards of Practice for Family and Divorce Mediation?
A Family Law Firm That Looks Out for Only Your Best Interests and No One Else’s

At the law firm of Doppelt and Forney, APLC, we do not offer or practice in mediation. We believe it is not possible for one person to represent adverse parties. As such, we take a traditional approach that each party in an adverse case needs individual representation. If you are in mediation and it is not working out, please feel free to contact us for a complimentary virtual consultation.

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