Westlake Village Mediation Attorney
How could mediation help me resolve my divorce?
Many people in the Thousand Oaks and Westlake Village communities have approached us and inquired about the possibility of mediating their divorce case, rather than litigating it in the court system. Mediation is a process by which the parties agree to come together and allow a neutral mediator to preside over their divorce case to assist the parties to come to an agreement without the involvement of the court. Mediation is an out of court alternative to resolution of a divorce case. It puts the parties in direct control of the dissolution process. They choose the mediator, they determined the governing “rules,” and they make the ultimate decisions because they must agree (through compromise) to all results. A mediator can help to facilitate better communication between the parties and encourage them to state their true goals in an effort to reach a mutually beneficial solution. Unlike a judge in traditional litigation, or an arbitrator in arbitration, a mediator does not “decide” the parties’ disputes. Instead, the mediator acts simply as a neutral, overseeing negotiations between the parties and attempting to bring about and seal a meeting of the minds.
At Richard Ross Associates, we understand the benefits of choosing the mediation process to resolve a couple's differences. Mediation can save money and time, and also preserve any goodwill remaining between the parties, as the process necessarily requires the spouses to work together in crafting a mutually agreed upon child custody and marriage settlement agreement. During the mediation, the parties do not have to appear in a courtroom before a judge. They are free to have legal counsel during the mediation process and can decide to move to the court litigation process at any time, if they feel that the mediation process has not been and will not be beneficial.
The Benefits of Mediation in Divorce
Mediation can be much less costly than the traditional court divorce procedure, and often can resolve the issues within months, as opposed to a year or more in the court system. If you have children, it is important to realize that the option of mediation can benefit them inasmuch as it often keeps them out of the cross-fire because it engenders cooperation between you and your spouse and reduces friction and stress. We are always happy to answer your questions and assist you to come to a decision about whether mediation as an option that is right for you. Call our law firm today to schedule a consultation to discuss if mediation may be right for you and your situation, or for a first interview to initiate the process.
I heartily recommend him to anybody in need of a well qualified, results-oriented, family law specialist.
“I would not hesitate to, again, retain the legal services of Richard Ross.”
Our family and our dignity have been restored.
“Mr. Ross and his supportive, competent staff put their hearts into their work and literally turned our lives around.”
The results far exceeded my expectations.
“The entire staff at Richard Ross Associates really helped me through my divorce and they were with me the whole way.”
Extremely thorough and professional!
“Richard has helped me through a very difficult divorce and I can't say enough good things about him.”
Polite, caring, and quick to respond.
“Richard Ross is a subject matter expert in the field of family law.”
This is very important: If you have separated from your spouse before one of you has filed for dissolution of marriage or legal separation, avoid agreeing to and placing into effect a temporary parenting plan arrangement regarding the children unless you will be able to live with this arrangement after the divorce papers have been filed. Once you begin a parenting plan that seems to be working, it becomes the "status quo." It is very difficult to convince a mediator or judge to change the status quo, especially if it is working or appears to be working and is not detrimental to the minor children.
If you have not received a judgment dissolving your marriage before the end of the year, you may file an individual tax return under the status of "married, filing separately" or a joint tax return with your spouse. You should consult your accountant as to the advantages of these options. You may obtain special information booklets regarding tax information for divorce or separated individuals from your local IRS office or read the IRS booklet online.
To file an action for divorce, also known as dissolution of marriage, a person must have resided in the state of California for six months and in the county where the action is filed for three months prior to filing the petition in court. This is true of either the petitioner or the respondent - either person can meet the test and allow a filing. If your spouse meets the residency requirement, you can file even if you do not meet it yourself.
The court can and usually will order you to move out of your residence if your spouse convinces the court that you have been violent toward your spouse or threatened your spouse. You could be given ex-parte notice to be in court the next day because your spouse is seeking an order to make you move out and stay out. You can be ordered to leave immediately and not return even if your spouse is not on the property title or lease agreement! Once you are ordered to leave, it is not likely that you will be allowed to return.
Before you get a divorce, photocopy all relevant financial documents that you can obtain and store them off-site with a trusted friend or relative. Do not store them in the trunk of your car where they can easily be found and removed by your spouse. There may be both personal and strategic reasons not to tip off your spouse that documents are being reviewed for a possible dissolution proceeding. Make copies of documents that you find in the residence and return the original documents to their original location as soon as possible so that your spouse won't notice that they are missing. It is often advisable to make the photocopies when you are sure your spouse is away for an extended time, such as during a workday. It is advisable to gather as many relevant financial documents as possible while they are still available and before they have been removed or destroyed by your spouse. This will significantly reduce the cost of divorce litigation if the documents do not have to be recovered later. It will also permit us to get a true picture of all community assets and debts as soon as possible.