Working through the end of a marriage relationship is never easy, even when it ends on good terms. There are a significant number of details that must be given appropriate attention and major decisions that must be made. Depending on the circumstances, you will likely have to make decisions regarding shared properties, child support, alimony, and child visitation.
No matter how well you may get along with the other party, navigating a divorce is filled with high emotions. It may be in your best interest to seek assistance when finalizing all of the details of the divorce to ensure all decisions are fair and in the best interest of everyone involved. Working with an experienced family law attorney can guide you through the legal proceedings and give you peace of mind as you finalize your divorce.
What Are Grounds for Divorce?
Deciding to end a marriage can be difficult, and you may second guess yourself throughout the process. One of the most challenging aspects of divorce proceedings can be understanding what is required to file for and then finalize a divorce.
In California, individuals can file for a no-fault divorce. This means there is a major issue or disagreement within the marriage that the spouses cannot overcome, so one or both parties are choosing to end the marriage. Even with a no-fault divorce, there must still be a reason stated for the dissolution of the marriage. When filing for a divorce in California, there are two avenues that an individual can choose as the reason to end their marriage.
The first option available in California is irreconcilable differences. This means something has caused a severe and immediate breakdown in the marriage relationship that cannot be repaired. If you choose to cite irreconcilable differences when you file for divorce, you don’t need to provide any further explanation. The courts do not require proof of the relationship breakdown, and they do not consider any fault when determining how assets and support are divided.
The other option available is referred to as incurable insanity, meaning one party cannot provide for themself because of severe mental or physical disabilities. This method is very rarely used because the individual requesting a divorce must provide significant proof. It is most often in the form of medical or psychiatric testimony to support the claim that one spouse was incurably insane at the time of filing and, according to medical professionals, is likely to remain that way for the foreseeable future. While this avenue for a divorce is rare and difficult to obtain, it is an option available in California.
Regardless of circumstances and reasons for filing, it can be helpful to have the assistance of a family law attorney to guide you through the divorce process. One resource that an attorney may recommend to you is mediation, which is proven to help resolve difficult divorces.
What Is Mediation?
Meditation is the process of bringing in an objective third party to help resolve any issues that the couple cannot agree on. This often involves each spouse, their respective legal representation, and the chosen mediator. You may either complete court-connected mediation or choose a private mediator.
Mediation that is required through the California courts is specifically for custody and visitation for parents with children under the age of 18. This form of mediation is used to ensure the parents can avoid any major conflict regarding their children. It also ensures the final decision regarding child custody, child support, and visitation are made in the best interest of the child or children involved.
Private mediation, on the other hand, is available at any stage of the divorce proceedings, even after the divorce is finalized. This type of mediation addresses any issues or disagreements that may arise throughout the legal process. Often, private mediators are lawyers with experience working with family law or professionals with a background in counseling. Choosing private mediation is a way to make the difficult and emotional process of divorce more manageable.
Is Mediation Required
Mediation is not required in California except in some cases related to child custody, support, and visitation. In these situations, mediation is required by a judge because the parents are unable to agree on a parenting plan. This may be caused by scheduling issues or a disagreement regarding child support.
Once a judge has ordered parents to undergo mediation, they work with a court-appointed mediator to navigate and finalize the appropriate parenting plan. Court-connected mediation may also be required if one parent requests a specific court order connected with child custody or if a visitation schedule needs to be made for a stepparent or grandparent.
What Is Involved in Mediation?
Each situation that requires mediation is different. Your mediation sessions will focus on whatever problems or issues need to be addressed within your divorce, but all mediation follows the same general pattern.
There are five steps in a mediation process:
- Beginning mediation is when all involved parties meet to officially begin the mediation process. This meeting is often used to help determine how willing the former spouses are to work together and finalize their divorce.
- First sessions begin after each party has agreed to mediation. This provides everyone with an opportunity to discuss their priorities and their end goal.
- Communication is the discussion that happens during mediation sessions. This is the time that each involved party spends discussing what they believe to be most important and why those things are important to them.
- Negotiations can begin once each party has been able to share their priorities. This is the process that is used to ensure everyone involved receives what they believe is fair in the final divorce ruling.
- Final sessions are when the mediator works with the individual parties to develop and write out their divorce agreement. Once this has been completed, it must be submitted to the courts and go through a review process before it is finalized.
Contact Us at Khalaf Law Group
Even going through mediation during divorce proceedings can be stressful, but having the right attorney can help make the process feel more manageable. If you need assistance navigating the mediation process, contact Khalaf Law Group today.