Family Mediation

You may find your family divided by conflicts that you are unable to resolve “in house.” Many families give up or hit a roadblock during take-it-or-leave-it confrontations. Mediation can help resolve numerous conflicts and issues that can occur before marriage, within families, or after getting a divorce. If you and your family members are looking for an amicable resolution to disagreements in which everyone understands each other’s emotional and material needs, you should talk to our experienced family mediators at Lerner Conflict Resolution Center today.

Premarital Agreements

Prenuptial Agreements (also known as a premarital agreement or a prenup) are aimed at making a marital relationship stronger, while protecting the best interests of both spouses in the event of a divorce in the future. Unfortunately, the discussion revolving prenups can often result in resentment and stress and raise doubts in an otherwise healthy and loving relationship. Mediations can be useful in upholding the right perspective in a prenuptial agreement, and facilitating the many difficult discussions regarding a potential divorce (that actually may or may never happen in the future.) It’s a misconception that couples discussing prenuptial agreements are less satisfied in their relationships today or are predicting an imminent dissolution of their marriage. In reality, they are mature couples who want to build a healthy relationship on a rock solid and transparent foundation so that there are no discords or disagreements later. Having a mutually acceptable prenup creates a level of predictability and resilience in the marriage. At the Lerner Conflict Resolution Center, we believe in the efficacy of having a mutually acceptable mediation framework that can be used for jointly determining relationship circumstances rather than dealing with outcomes imposed by lawyers and courts – after the fact. You may not be aware of the legal effects of the numerous actions and inactions that tend to occur after entering a formal marital relationship. In the absence of an enforceable expression of shared intent, you both may be left scrambling to gain the upper hand over the other in case of a conflict. The fact that California family law is exceedingly complex doesn’t help matters. Family law in California is forever evolving which is a recipe for emotional and financial disaster when a relationship ends. You and your spouse can use the expertise, knowledge, skills, and impartiality of a neutral third-party mediator to outline, develop, and create a premarital agreement.

What is a Premarital Agreement?

Prenuptial agreements are legal contracts entered into by two people before their civil union or marriage. It is also known as a premarital agreement, antenuptial agreement, or a prenup. The extent and context of premarital agreements in Orange County can differ widely. Pertaining to this, it usually includes provisions for dividing common property if the couple decides to end their relationship. Planning what to do in the event of a divorce is naturally the last thing on a soon-to-be wedded couple’s mind. Based on this, it’s crucial that you and your spouse consider the intelligence of this step.

Benefits of Using a Mediator Over an Attorney for Your Prenuptial Agreement

An attorney’s everyday role is to advocate for one side against the other. They generally tend to become adversarial by nature in their everyday lives by virtue of that. Using an attorney may cause you and your spouse to become combative or work against each other. This is not something you want in the days leading up to your marriage, which should technically be filled with joy and excitement. In fact, many couples in Orange County towns, such as Newport Beach avoid prenuptial agreements for this exact reason even though they see the wisdom in it. Mediation provides the perfect circumstances for creating a premarital agreement in California. The mediator you choose will facilitate an open discussion between you and your partner about different types of marital issues, including saving and spending styles, expectations about working once children are born, and traditional discussions about spousal support and property division if the marriage breaks down. The mediator will deliver much-needed assistance to make sure engaged couples work productively towards making necessary decisions about how to handle things if there is a divorce or separation. You can always have an attorney review the premarital agreement once it is created. It’s critical to note that premarital agreements developed through mediation are less stressful, less expensive, non-adversarial, faster, and mutually beneficial. You will make decisions as a couple, instead of becoming opposing adversaries in the ring.

Post-Divorce Mediation in California

Post-divorce mediation is between ex-spouses with a valid divorce judgment. The judgment typically may have existed for a while, but the circumstances would have changed rendering the terms of the judgment as no longer applicable.

What is Post-Divorce Modification?

Post-divorce or post-decree modification is an alteration to a divorce agreement or a court order once the divorce has been finalized. These alterations can affect different settlements that were ordered during the marriage dissolution. You may be able to secure a post-decree modification if you experienced the following changes:

  • Development of a new relationship
  • Sudden changes to your financial situation
  • Changes in the child’s wishes
  • Placement in a new job or loss of a job
  • Developments affecting the child’s safety
  • Relocation of parties or children
  • Death

You should consider speaking with a post-divorce mediation expert in Los Angeles if you want to understand how life-altering situations can be used in your best interests.

Significant Change in Circumstances

You should speak with a legal professional if you experience substantial changes in your circumstances. You should never make changes to the actions listed within the divorce decree without a court approval. For instance, if you stop paying child support because you lost your job, you will still be in violation of the court order. This may attract significant legal repercussions. You should never adjust court orders or agreements unilaterally related to the following:

  • Child custody and visitation
  • Child support
  • Spousal support

California law allows post-divorce modifications because it recognizes that living circumstances don’t remain the same forever. Courts will consider the child’s best interests when granting post-decree modification requests. Moreover, this doesn’t mean they are blind to situational changes. You should instead work towards having the appropriate paperwork drafted by a mediator. Working with a mediator is always better since they are trained to help ex-spouses come to a decision in a cooperative and less expensive manner.

Issues Affecting Child and Spouse Support Orders

Substantial changes to your finances can have an effect on alimony payments and child support. California laws makes use of a formula for identifying the amount of appropriate modification to the support when the work situation of either spouses change.

Other issues that qualify for changes to spousal and child support orders include:

  • Spousal support modification
    • Living with a new partner
    • Remarriage
    • Actual expenses are different from anticipated expenses
    • Financial emergency impacting the need for spousal maintenance
    • Disability
  • Child custody modification
    • Changes in residency
    • Child joins the Armed Forces
    • Child gets married
    • Child turns into an adult
    • Child is diagnosed with a chronic illness

You should speak with a trusted mediation specialist before making any unilateral decisions.

Modifying the Child Custody Arrangements

Most modifications involve making changes to financial support. Pertaining to this, you can also request for changes to the child custody arrangement. Child support will naturally be affected by such modifications. Courts generally reconsider the custodial parent and visitation rights of the other parent if issues endangering the child arise. Moreover, you may be able to seek a change in custody arrangement even with less menacing issues, such as:

  • Change in the work schedule of the non-custodial parent
  • Difficulties in meeting parental responsibilities
  • Relocating outside of the child’s current geographical area
  • Changes to preferences of the child-chosen custodial parent
  • Non-custodial parent has more parenting time by relocating closer

In family court, child custody and visitation issues are argued heatedly and are among the most contested decisions. You don’t need to put yourself and your family through this. Instead get the timely help you need by speaking with a Los Angeles post-divorce mediator. You can arrive at a fair agreement addressing concerns of both parties through collaborative law.

Disputes Between Siblings

At the Lerner Conflict Resolution Center, we know that there can be occasions warranting conflict mediations between adult siblings. Whether your disagreements are over a family estate, finances, decisions around your parent’s health care and living arrangements, inheritance, or caring for another sibling with disabilities, you and your siblings deserve support from a mediator invested in preserving your relationship in a warm, civil, and compassionate environment. Our mediation team is ready to help you achieve a resolution by navigating the discussions every step of the way. Take the first step today by reaching out to a highly experienced mediator that understands your unique situation and guides you through the process. We can schedule the first session once all parties agree to mediation.

What Happens During Family Mediation?

Conflicts between siblings don’t need to have damaging, expensive, and impersonal consequences. Taking this into account, this is what you may just get by involving attorneys and courtroom litigation. You can approach any issue brewing among your family members by working together towards practical, nuanced, and flexible solutions with the help of our experienced mediators. The length of a mediation session will differ as per the issues that need to be discussed and the geographic challenges faced in bringing different adult siblings together. You may be able to overcome these challenges through virtual participation. Our mediators can help you solidify the work you and your family members have agreed to during the discussions by drawing up a formal agreement.

Inheritance Planning

Mediators can address conflicts during estate planning process by conferring with individual family members confidentially and facilitating a collaborative process. You can clarify the needs and interests of individual members without violating any ethical rules by bringing in a mediator early during the estate planning process.

The utility of a mediator stems from the unique benefits they bring to the table, such as:

  • Collaborative representation
  • No allegiance to any particular party
  • No conflicts of interest
  • Doesn’t make any decisions
  • No constraints regarding confidentiality

Mediators are unencumbered by the conflict-of-interest rules, which generally constrain estate planning attorneys. Mediators can easily uncover hidden interests and needs by communicating with each family member in confidence. The agreement protects the confidentiality of these conversations. The risk of candor is virtually eliminated, leaving individuals free to speak without the fear of the details getting shared with others in their absence or without their consent.

Mediators are uniquely positioned to obtain accurate and complete information from different parties. They can easily clear up misunderstandings and facilitate the healing of deep wounds or simmering resentment. Mediators work collaboratively with different family members for developing a conceptual approach that everyone feels comfortable with.

The mediator can help create a comprehensive picture of the unique situation in a manner similar to putting the pieces of a puzzle together. They can help family members take a holistic approach to addressing the conflict. Results of the mediation process can be used by advisors and estate planning attorney to prepare the necessary documents and develop appropriate legal structures.

The mediation process is transparent and even if mutual understandings fail to represent everyone’s ideal outcome, the opportunity for each member to weigh in, be heard, and vent plays an important role in reducing the risk of future legal challenges. As per the psychological principle of cognitive dissonance, a person is less likely to undermine or criticize a process in which they have invested substantial money, time, or energy.

Alternatively, when family members are not included in the estate planning process, they feel cheated by what they perceive as inequitable or unfair treatment under the trust or will. Litigation usually ensues since anger, distrust, and resentment takes over. In turn, the vitriol accompanying litigation can wreak permanent havoc on family relationships. There is also the issue of lasting embarrassment by airing the family’s “dirty laundry” in public.

The seasoned mediators at the Lerner Conflict Resolution Center have identified the following scenarios where mediation can be of use, especially in case of a sizeable estate:

  • Closely held business as a family asset
  • Educational and economic disparity among heirs
  • Only a few children care for ailing parents
  • Divorces and remarriages with children from prior marriages
  • Obvious signs of acrimony among parents, children, and spouses
  • Different preferences towards charity
  • Allegations concerning division or distribution of certain assets and possessions
  • Physically or mentally challenged parents and children requiring ongoing homecare, nursing care, or medical treatment

Mediation can be useful in facilitating the estate planning or inheritance process by implementing a synergistic approach to conflict resolution between different family members. This is done through confidential dialogues and discussions that are free of ethical constraints. Mediation is different from litigation, which may be the only course left in its absence.

Mediation helps in preserving relationships, keeping family disputes private, promotes reconciliation and allows family members to control their futures.

Conflicts Between Parents and Adolescents

Mediators at the Lerner Conflict Resolution Center realize the impact and challenges that adolescence brings into the family or home. Your child may disagree on everything from communication expectations, religions practices, and boundary setting, to a new relationship you or your ex-spouse may have entered into. Having mediators present at discussions can be beneficial while discussing the right college or school, making medical or healthcare decisions, or making athletic decisions among others. You may have disagreements with your adult children about financial/estate/healthcare planning or managing boundaries with grandparents. Our team of expert mediators are here to help you through every step of the process. Once you make that initial phone call, we will reach out to you to learn more and understand your unique situation. We will guide the process so that you can focus on articulating your concerns. We can schedule the session once you and your child agree to mediation.

Parent-Child Conflict Mediation

Handling conflicts with an adult child can be bad, but being in conflict with an at-home adolescent child can seem like a humongous burden. You may get into arguments that leave you feeling drained and unproductive while worsening the tensions at home and leaving issues unresolved. You don’t need to accept this strife as the “new normal.” Our team of trained and experienced mediators can be the voice of healing and unity in creating a personalized, flexible resolution for you and your child in a non-judgmental, civil, and supporting environment. All mediation sessions will be conducted by experienced mediators with special knowledge of parent-child mediation. Typically, each mediation session will last a few hours and you may need more than one session. Our mediators can help you and your child solidify the work you have done together by putting the agreement in writing.

Helping Families Stay Out of Court and Keep the Peace Through Mediation

The mediators at the Lerner Conflict Resolution Center have the necessary skills, experience, and resources to handle mediation related to prenuptial agreements, divorce and family law matters, estate planning conflicts, sibling issues, and other related concerns. Our team comprises of honest, compassionate, and dedicated experts that will help guide the conversation towards dispute resolution.

We have helped numerous families achieve acceptable resolutions, which earned us the trust of the clients and the communities. Our committed and empathetic mediators will work hard to help you and your family in resolving any concerns in an amicable manner to your satisfaction. To request a free consultation, call us at 657-232-0382 or complete this online form.

Table of Contents