Guiding You Through The Divorce Process

Family Law Mediation Lawyers

What Is Family Law Mediation?

Most family law cases resolve in mediation. Only about 5% of them ever go to trial. Mediation is a confidential process that can be done with or without attorneys. When parties have their own lawyers, mediation is set at some time prior to trial. One of our attorneys, Andrew P. Johnson, is a Certified Family Law Specialist (CFLS). He has represented hundreds of clients in mediation with outstanding results.

Additionally, Mr. Johnson is employed as a mediator privately by attorneys and clients from Vista and the surrounding area going through uncontested divorce. He has facilitated hundreds of divorce agreements for parties as a privately compensated mediator and as an appointed judge pro tempore at the San Diego County Superior Court. If your case is going to mediation or you want to hire someone neutral to mediate your divorce, Mr. Johnson can provide these services at our firm.

Is Mediation Right For Your Divorce?

On the surface, mediation may seem like just an initial step before going on to the full divorce. However, if you are committed to mediation, you may find that:

  • It’s faster: Because you don’t have to wait on a courtroom and you’re trying to find a solution, the process moves much more quickly.
  • It’s less expensive: While being faster does mean you will spend less on lawyers, you will also find that the agreements you come to are fair and built for the long term.
  • It’s less contentious: Because mediation is about resolving your disputes rather than finding a “winner,” both sides have a more positive experience.
  • It’s more private: For people that have a public profile, mediation is one way to keep the details of a divorce and its discussions away from public consumption.

Overall, the mediation process provides a great deal of advantages over a traditional divorce and works well for those couples who seek to cooperate and discuss. Our lawyers have found it to be especially good for building co-parenting agreements that prioritize the kids.

Frequently Asked Questions About Family Law Mediation

Mediation is increasingly being used to resolve family legal issues before they reach litigation, but many people are still unfamiliar with how it works. Here are some of the questions Mr. Johnson often hears:

Can the agreements reached in mediation be legally enforced, and how do they become official?

Even when mediation is court-ordered, the mediation process still leaves the final decision about any agreements up to the two parties involved. In other words, you cannot be forced into making a deal. Once signed, however, a mediation agreement will be sent to the court for approval by a judge. After the judge approves the agreement, it becomes legally binding and enforceable – just like any other court order.

What happens if we are unable to reach a mediation agreement? Is everything said during sessions confidential?

If mediation fails, you can either try again, engage in negotiations outside mediation with hopes of settling or move to litigation.

Unless there are advance agreements to the contrary, mediation is broadly confidential. That means that whatever was said in mediation between you and the other party will not be admissible in court. (That does not mean that something revealed in mediation can never be admitted into evidence in court, however. It simply means that the information would have to come from some additional source.)

Can we involve our children in the mediation process to consider their preferences and concerns?

This is entirely possible, and it is one of the best aspects of mediation in family legal issues that involve children. Being able to express their concerns and preferences about any parenting plan issues can help children – especially those who are either teenagers or approaching their teen years – feel like they have some control over their situation or are being heard. This can make it easier for parents to decide what approach to take and find common ground to reframe their relationship and reach a solution.

Frequently Asked Questions About Divorce Mediation

Here are some of the most common questions about divorce mediation that clients have:

What topics are covered during divorce mediation sessions?

During divorce mediation sessions, the different topics to be covered include, but are not limited to:

  • Asset and debt division
  • Child custody and parenting time schedules
  • Child support and spousal support
  • Retirement accounts and pensions

Through open communication, mutual respect and the guidance of a skilled mediator, divorcing couples can work together to create a fair and sustainable agreement that respects the needs of the parties and children involved.

How does divorce mediation work, and what is the role of the mediator?

In divorce mediation, the mediator is a neutral third party who controls the communication between the divorcing couple. The mediator helps the parties identify and prioritize their interests, explore possible solutions and negotiate a mutually acceptable agreement.

It is important to note that the mediator does not make decisions for the couple. They only assist the parties in reaching a common ground. Divorcing couples are also not coerced or threatened to make any decisions.

How are payments for mediation handled, and what should we expect regarding upfront costs or deposits?

Divorce mediation costs depend on factors such as the mediator’s experience and the case’s complexity. Some mediators charge an hourly rate, while others charge a flat fee for the entire process.

As for the mediation payments, the parties will often share the cost equally. However, this decision can be negotiated depending on the circumstances. Mediators commonly require an upfront deposit or retainer before beginning the mediation process.

What is the typical duration of the divorce mediation process from start to finish?

On average, the process can last from a few weeks to several months. The duration will depend on the level of cooperation between the parties and the case’s complexity.

The parties involved determine the mediation’s pace. They can take as much or as little time as they need to reach an agreement.

Find Out More About Our Mediation Services

For additional information or to schedule an appointment with a Certified Family Law Specialist (CFLS) and court-recommended family law mediator Andrew Johnson, please call 760-278-3262 or email us.