Decisions made during the divorce process have a profound impact long after the decree is final. This is especially true when children are involved. Anything that can be done to avoid bitter litigation and post-divorce disputes will make the process easier on everyone. Mediation and other forms of alternative dispute resolution are designed to save time, reduce the costs and alleviate stress, while preserving legal rights.
Certified family law specialists, Ilene Evans Trabolsi and Avi Levy, serve as volunteer mediators for the family law courts of the Los Angeles Superior Court. With their leadership, our firm guides clients through the Santa Monica divorce mediation process and helps represent the client’s best interests and those of his or her children.
We can explore all of your options to resolve divorce or custody matters without resorting to litigation, including:
Mediation — Divorce mediation for Santa Monica residents a process whereby a neutral third person trained in dispute resolution techniques guides couples in divorce through a process of listening, identifying issues, exploring options and coming to a mutually agreeable solution for both parties. Mediation is an excellent alternative when the parties need to find a way to continue to work together, such as when they have children. Mediation permits the parties to take responsibility for making decisions that affect their lives. The parties are encouraged to consider “out of the box” solutions that a court might not be able to order, to achieve the important goals desired by each party. Divorce medication in Santa Monica is also helpful in reaching closure, where both parties can articulate their goals, even if they do not desire to remain friends after the dissolution is concluded.
Collaborative law — Collaborative divorce is a hybrid of mediation and negotiation. Both parties have attorneys representing their interests, but both parties and their attorneys sign an agreement not to litigate. If talks break down, your collaborative lawyer cannot represent you in courtroom litigation. Collaborative divorce law in Santa Monica commonly involves psychologists, financial experts and other professionals to help cover all the bases and forge an agreement.
Arbitration — Another option is hiring a private arbitrator, such as a retired family court judge, to settle disputes. The process is quicker and less costly than going to court, but the decision is binding. Arbitration is not as formal as going to court, and it is not open to the public. Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) has many advantages over litigation:
- Fewer hostilities and grudges that spill over into future disputes
- Greater privacy because most details are not part of the public court record
- More control over solutions, rather than leaving decisions up to a judge
- Considerably lower cost
- Less adverse impact on children
- Faster resolutions than going to court
Due to the budget crisis in California, it is taking longer to appear before a family law judge to finalize a divorce settlement. For this reason, more and more people in the Santa Monica area are choosing to finalize their divorces through mediation and ADR.