Mediate, Collaborate, Don’t Litigate

AdminDr Michael Mantell


Divorce is always an emotionally straining experience, regardless of who’s pulling the plug on the marriage, irrespective of how many years a marriage has endured, and unrelated to whether children are involved or not. Breaking up often places two people in an oppositional and combative position. In fact, when you even read the word “divorce,” what likely pops into your mind is an adversarial, embittered, litigious, expensive, drama, one with pain, agony, and drawn out heartache.

Thankfully, the State of California has seen fit to incorporate a different choice, one in which an impartial attorney, helps prevent divorce from becoming a disaster, by assisting a divorcing couple to reach a resolution that is acceptable to both persons. This is called mediation, alternative dispute resolution, or collaborative divorce. In this alternative method to resolving your divorce issues, the mediator is a neutral working closely with both parties to help them resolve their case.

A mediator works with couples in an evenhanded way, to designate their own parenting plan, financial arrangements, and division of resources assets and debts. Mediation may promote a healthier, less tense discussion of disputes and concerns in a way that often makes it easier for the couple to settle their differences themselves. Mediators do not make decisions for couples. Mediators do not give legal advice to either party although he/she may certainly explain what the law is and how it would be applied at a hearing or trial. Settlements in mediation can only be reached when everyone agrees. Mediators do not force people to agree to anything.

In addition, mediation happens on the couple’s schedule, not on a busy court’s calendar which can takes months and now, with the effects of the pandemic, even years to get hearings set.

When couples have been living with hostility, arguments, lack of trust, personal attacks, and are struggling with emotional tension, a more understanding, empathetic and safe environment, different from what many encounter in litigation, can not only be a welcome relief but can also resolve the entire case far more quickly and less expensively than litigation.

Sometimes, unfortunately, even with the most skilled mediator, parties don’t settle.  Mediation only works when both sides are willing to compromise.  Even when mediation doesn’t result in a complete agreement, at the very least, it may help resolve some disputes, leaving less to spend on a courtroom hearing. The time you spend organizing your thinking, planning for mediation, can mean less time preparing for a trial.

However, if you really can’t reach an agreement, even after trying mediation, then litigation will have to ensure.  Both parties will then need to hire their own attorney to represent them.  The mediator may not be hired by either party to represent them because in acting as the mediator, he or she has become privy to confidential information from both parties which creates a conflict of interest.

If you prefer not to have a judge make your decisions for you, believe you and your spouse/partner are willing to compromise and each wants to save time and money then mediation may be the right path for you and Primus Family Law has the right team to mediate your divorce.

Primus Family Law Group, with owner – managing partner Bonnie Rabinovitch-Mantel, and her relentless, formidable team of highly experienced family law attorneys, is a family-oriented firm with a long history of serving clients who are seeking to resolve deeply personal matrimonial and urgent, stressful, family law issues. This team is committed to protecting their clients’ interests every step of the way…always prepared to litigate but increasingly relying on methods to avoid unnecessary trauma/drama.

Bonnie has built a culture, and infused every step of her practice’s operation, with a family-oriented and personalized team-oriented approach.  Whether you choose litigation or mediation, the sophisticated and compassionate client services Primus Family Law Group provides will help you get through this very difficult time so you can focus on yourself and your family.