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Property division: Legal counsel during mediation is advisable

More and more California couples who are considering divorce are choosing to avoid the trauma and expense of litigation in favor of mediation. During this process, a neutral professional facilitates mediation between the two parties. Communication and compromise are encouraged while couples work toward reaching mutual agreements on matters such as property division, support, child custody and parenting plans. This may lead to a divorce where the interests of all parties are protected, and parents and children may move forward toward new lives in separate households.

However, a professional mediator is not there to act as a legal representative of the divorcing parties, and it is advised that each spouse has his or her attorney present during the mediation. In addition to active participation and providing advice, attorneys will ensure that any agreements are documented in language that will hold up in court. Many couples have drawn up agreements that seemed perfectly clear at the time, but led to expensive litigation later.

An example is parents who agree on equally sharing a child's college expenses. While it seems a simple enough agreement, college expenses should be detailed in order to avoid future disagreements over unanticipated costs. Property division commonly presents many challenges that may be overlooked. An attorney can help ensure all aspects of every issue are covered and documented.

Any California couple who is considering divorce and chooses to go the mediation route may ultimately feel empowered knowing that each spouse have the opportunity to make decisions that will impact their lives and those of their children. While many couples have benefited from mediation, it may not be suitable in every circumstance. There may be couples who need critical decisions about property division, child custody and other contentious matters to be made by a judge after both sides have had an opportunity to provide relevant evidence supporting their individual requests.

Source: natlawreview.com, "Divorce Mediation: Utilizing Attorney Resources during the Divorce Process", David A. Beaver, March 30, 2015

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Victoria S. Linder Law Office
5303 Folsom Boulevard
Sacramento, CA 95819

Phone: 916-905-4805
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