Civility in Divorce: Mediation Services in California Can Help

divorcing couple walking on beach civility in divorce mediation services in california can help

As an attorney and a mediator in California, I have witnessed firsthand the transformative impact that civility can have on the divorce process. Throughout the divorce proceedings, couples can minimize conflict, save money, and reduce stress using simple tactics to foster communication.  

Recently, I attended an annual gathering of family law attorneys and judges in San Diego. The speakers discussed several topics and praised the efforts of attorneys who keep cases moving when physical court rooms were shut down for years. However, I was also left with a sense that the legal community has changed substantially due to the consequences of missing daily interactions with fellow professionals.  

Judges were especially worried about the loss of civility within the legal community after such a long separation. Attorneys and their clients have had to adapt to remote hearings and status conferences. While the digital space may have improved the parties’ abilities to be present for each hearing, the attorneys are less able to interact in person before or after a hearing. The interactions between court hearings were often the best time for negotiation and a meeting of the minds, as judges like to say. 

That is a lot to ask of 15 minutes between a case being called and both of you are paying your attorneys an hourly fee to do so. However, mediation is all about those interactions and it helps to understand why you should also focus on fostering a space of civility in mediation to help you get to an equitable division of your assets and debts.  

 

Improves Communication 

Civility forms the foundation for effective communication between divorcing spouses. By maintaining a respectful and calm demeanor, you create an environment conducive to open dialogue and collaboration. Instead of resorting to arguments and confrontations, which can escalate tension, civility encourages constructive conversations focused on resolving issues and finding mutually beneficial solutions. This enhanced communication can significantly reduce misunderstandings and facilitate quicker resolution of disputes. 

 

Cost Effective 

When you decrease misunderstandings and improve your ability to resolve disputes, you save money. Not only should you be concerned with equitable division of your asset, but also that there are still assets to divide that don’t have to go to pay an attorney. People often forget that fighting over an asset may mean that they may have to sell that asset to pay for the fight. 

When couples approach divorce with civility, they are more likely to engage in amicable negotiations rather than protracted litigation. By working together to reach agreements on topics like child custody, property division, and spousal support, you can avoid costly court battles. Amicable negotiations save both time and money, allowing you to move forward with your lives more quickly and with fewer financial burdens. The money saved can be better utilized for starting a new chapter in life or securing the future for yourself and your children. 

 

Preserves Emotional Well-Being 

Divorce is an emotionally challenging time, and engaging in hostile behavior or bitter arguments can exacerbate the stress and emotional turmoil. By choosing civility, you prioritize your emotional well-being, especially if you have children. Maintaining a respectful and civil attitude helps create a healthier environment for everyone involved, minimizing the negative impact on mental health. A more peaceful divorce process allows you to focus on healing, rebuilding, and moving forward with your life more effectively. 

 

Protects Children from Conflict 

If you have children, you already know that children are often the most affected by a divorce. By promoting civility, you shield your children from unnecessary conflict and emotional distress. Parents who can communicate respectfully and collaborate in decision-making demonstrate a united front and prioritize the well-being of their children. By fostering a cooperative co-parenting relationship, you create a stable and supportive environment for your children, helping them adjust to the changes and thrive in their new circumstances. 

 

Mediation Over Litigation 

Choosing civility in divorce is not a sign of weakness but rather a reflection of strength and maturity. It empowers couples to navigate the process with less stress, saves them money, and prioritizes the well-being of everyone involved, especially the children. As an attorney and a mediator in California, I encourage divorcing couples to embrace civility, recognizing its transformative potential to create a smoother, more cost-effective, and emotionally healthier divorce process. By doing so, you can lay the foundation for a positive post-divorce future and a successful co-parenting relationship. 

 

Divorce Mediation

It is never too late to begin to be civil. In my next blog post, I will talk more about how your emotions may get in the way of civility during your divorce and some tools to utilize throughout your divorce case. If you want some help to get off the litigation wheel and take charge of your case, contact West Coast Family Mediation Center for a free consultation.

by: Lauren K. Kominkiewicz

Lauren Kominkiewicz with west coast family mediation center

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