Not all family law matters should be litigated in the public court system. Mediation or another alternative dispute resolution method may be appropriate to resolve divorce, child custody, paternity and other types of family law matters. The benefits of mediation include greater privacy, a less adversarial process and, potentially, much lower costs.
As a general rule, mediation communications are strictly confidential, cannot be obtained by discovery and cannot be admitted as evidence in court. The confidential nature of mediation can be especially important for celebrities, corporate executives and other high profile individuals whose personal affairs may be of interest to large segments of the public. Because mediation confidentiality facilitates open and candid discussions, mediation can increase the likelihood of successful settlement negotiations for a broad array of litigants, often helping to resolve even the most contentious cases by agreement.
While some family law matters are handled exclusively through mediation, it is more common for our cases to be initiated in the court system and eventually move to mediation for resolution of some or all of the issues, after the litigants have gathered sufficient information through the discovery process. At that time, the parties and their counsel may hire a respected retired family law judge to act as a mediator in a settlement conference, which may lead to a settlement.
A relatively new area of family law, Collaborative Law, is a specific process whereby the parties retain attorneys for the specific purpose of reaching an agreement outside of court. By identifying the most important issues to each party, the attorneys and sometimes other experts negotiate in an open and transparent forum to work together in finding solutions. This differs from mediation in that rather than taking positions and then coming to a compromise, Collaborative Law encourages both sides working together for the good of both parties and their children. If one of either parties decides to withdraw from the collaborative process for any reason, the attorneys must be dismissed and new attorneys are retained to continue the case in the more traditional adversarial setting.
In some cases, unrepresented litigants retain the services of Simpson Law Group (usually Thomas L. Simpson, who has trained as a mediator) to serve as an all-purpose mediator of his/her divorce issues.
In this economy, everyone is looking for ways to save money. Family law is no exception, and that is why Simpson Law Group also specializes in mediation. Even if you and your spouse or partner don’t agree on everything, mediation can still be effective for both of you. With private mediation, you’ll meet with a Glendale family law attorney together to talk about your issues and concerns. Then we will develop a plan to move your case forward to resolution. From disclosure of assets and debts to drawing up a settlement agreement, our firm has the experience and balanced touch to help ease the painful process of divorce. We can even help with post-judgment modification matters.
At Simpson Law Group, we know how to settle cases. Going to trial rarely makes sense when settlement is an option. The vast majority of our cases settle through private judicial mediation, avoiding trial altogether with the help of a private judge. We provide our clients with the tools and legal advice to evaluate and make smart settlement decisions, whether we act as mediator for both of you or you need attorney representation to take your case to a neutral third party mediator.
Contact a mediation attorney at our firm for a consultation to see if mediation or Collaborative Law options are right for you by calling our Glendale office at (818) 254-8304.