Sometimes, even the most careful litigation can dissolve into a costly, emotionally trying legal battle. When these cases involve parents and their children, the consequences are particularly devastating. Luckily, these trying arguments can be avoided by pursuing other alternatives. You might enroll in online parenting classes or seek out local opportunities, for example, to learn more about how a divorce will affect your kids. An experienced San Diego family attorney will help you determine what course of action is best for you and your specific individual circumstances.
Families in dispute have many options, ranging from informal negotiations to mediation or even a hybrid solution customized for their specific case. Whether you simply need a neutral evaluation before delving into a custody schedule or want to address potential issues proactively, review these options to resolve your case as amicably as possible.
A traditional evaluation may be your best option. Though your case will be presented before a judge, this process only addresses basic questions and ensures both parties understand their obligations and have voluntarily signed an agreement. These proceedings routinely end in approval, unless there’s any indication that the contract is unfair or inaccurate.
This is an excellent way to reach an agreement without stepping foot in a courtroom. Mediation prioritizes parental decision-making over judicial orders, employing an impartial counselor to help parents reach a fair agreement. This can save couples legal fees and the headache of personal and emotional disputes.
The impartial mediator guides the conversation, helping parents focus on what’s important (their children) and which responsibilities they can reasonably handle. Mediators do not make official decisions, and the specialist you work with cannot force either party to sign a document. This process can help you:
- Resolve some issues before pursuing additional actions. Settling the issues you agree on before pursuing further action minimizes your time before a judge, which helps you save on legal fees and makes the entire process more agreeable.
- Prepare for a trial. If you do not reach an agreement, mediation can prepare you for the courtroom and gives you a better idea of what you can expect.
In the same way mediation focuses on a fair agreement, collaborative law focuses on cooperation and problem solving. In fact, mediation and negotiation are important parts of this process. This saves both spouses time and money, and meeting in an informal setting can facilitate an open, honest conversation that centers on everyone’s best interests.
California provides many educational programs that can help spouses understand how their responsibilities will change after a divorce. This can help them set realistic goals related to custody and travel arrangements. Check with your local family court for a list of classes, which are usually hosted by community organizations in your area.
The best approach may call for more than one method of negotiating. Hybrid solutions allow couples to take advantage of multiple solutions that may or may not include going to court. For example, mitigation can help you iron out some details or agree on some basics, but it may not be enough. You may need a recommendation from a mental health professional through a local education program – or you may need to present your case before a judge. In this case, a hybrid solution tailored to your needs is the ideal solution.
There are dozens of resources available for your divorce. A San Diego, CA divorce lawyer that specializes in child custody cases can review your case and recommend courses and mediation opportunities in your city. You may find that out-of-court negotiations are the best route, but even if a formal court proceeding is unavoidable, he or she can ensure your rights are protected before a judge. For more information on your custody options in California, reach out to the San Diego child custody attorneys at Body Law.