As someone who has gone through divorce and someone who has been the director of the National Conflict Resolution Center’s Divorce Mediation Services for the last ten years, I can say with certainty that going through divorce in San Diego is stressful, costly and disruptive to the life of a couple and their children. I can also say with conviction that confidential divorce mediation conducted by family law attorneys can minimize the stress, keep the conflict from escalating, keep the costs down significantly and allow the parties to maintain control of the divorce process as well as the outcome.

My observation is that when the economy is bad and the real estate market has been going down as it has been in San Diego, stress can increase between couples, leading to more divorces. And, once the couple is in the process of divorce, the issue of support provokes more anxiety for both parties. Also, the economic stresses can make the separation of community property more difficult. When the house needs to be sold for each member of the couple to afford their own place, it is much harder if the property isn’t selling, or if the house is “upside down” (the mortgage owed exceeds the equity). Fear, worry and stress escalate dramatically and the court does not address the emotional impacts.

Despite what many people think, they do not need to hire two separate lawyers to do battle for them in court. On the contrary, they can hire one neutral family law attorney/mediator who represents neither of them, but works with both of them to provide current, relevant legal information and assist them to negotiate the division of community property, child and spousal support (alimony) and how they will co-parent their children. These are issues that the couple is in the best position to decide for themselves, rather than a judge who does not know them or their children and has limited time to review their case.

The more the couple can work together cooperatively (they don’t have to be friendly), the more they can get beyond the past and move forward. The more they cooperate, the less pain and permanent negative impacts there are for themselves and their children.

Throughout the day, I’ll continue to post blogs on the topics of the process of mediation, what to do if you would like to mediate but your spouse doesn’t agree and how mediation can help even if your spouse is a difficult person.

I’d like to hear from any of you about good experiences you have had in private, confidential divorce mediation with a family law attorney/mediator and let me know if you have questions I can answer.

-ROBIN SEIGLE

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