Imagine you’ve finally made the tough decision to divorce your spouse. You hire a lawyer, pay a large deposit ($8,000 -$10,000) and start filing the paperwork: request for custody, visitation, child and spousal support. You sling all the mud about your spouse and air your dirty laundry in a pleading that is filed with the court for anyone to see at any time, where it remains forever. You wait months for a court hearing. At the hearing, you want to tell your story. You want to tell the judge how you’ve been hurt or wronged by the other person. You want your voice heard, but that’s not how the system is set up.
Go online to the court website and look at any family law judge’s calendar for any day and you will see 20-30 matters in the morning and 20-30 matters in the afternoon (https://www.sandiego.courts.ca.gov/portal/online/calendar.html Maybe the judge had a chance to read your paperwork, but maybe not. Then in a matter of 20 minutes total, the judge is going to hear from both sides and issue a court order for you and your family that must be followed. You leave court having spent thousands of dollars, stunned, confused, angry and unhappy. Even if the judge ruled in your favor, it cost you thousands of dollars. It’s a broken system that hurts people. The movies lie to you. It’s nothing like what is portrayed on television.
For 17 years, I’ve litigated family law matters in court, and it’s worse than it’s ever been. My decision to transition the firm from litigation to mediation was an easy one. Since 2012, I’ve volunteered my time to the court to help settle cases for parties and their counsel, so they don’t have to go to trial. God gave me a talent for resolving disputes and I love using that talent to help people through one of the most difficult times in their life. After the death of a loved one (spouse or child), divorce is the second most stressful life event. I know firsthand, I have gone through a divorce, and it was awful.
Mediation is unfortunately not well known so let’s get the word out – There is a better way! Family law mediation is a confidential and voluntary process. It keeps you and your spouse in charge of making the important decisions that will best benefit your family and keep your private details private and not in a court file. In the mediation process, the parties act as their own negotiators and decision makers, with me as a neutral educating and providing practical information of how others have resolved similar issues. I don’t represent either party. Here are just a few benefits:
1. Decisions: The parties decide what is best for their family and their children. No one should ever leave a decision about their family and children to a judge.
2. Cost: The cost is significantly less than litigation, so parties have certainty with how much their divorce will actually cost. The money saved by not litigating can be used for the children and new beginnings.
3. Time: It takes a lot less time than litigation, so you can move forward towards healing, not keeping the open wound and uncertainty of divorce as the main focus of your life.
4. Privacy/Confidentiality: Our mediation is done 100% virtually. Since COVID, we found that a virtual practice allows people to remain in the comfort of their own home surrounded by things that make them happy and keep them calm. It is also time efficient in that there is no travel to and from the court as well as waiting for your case to be heard in front of a judge.
Divorce is an awful experience made worse by the inefficient, ineffective, and over-burdened Family Court system. The option of mediation over litigation is the answer. For all the above reasons, choosing mediation with Denham Family Law can help you finalize a painful chapter in your life.