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The Mediation Process

Attorney Anne B. Howard provides individualized mediation.

Mediation in Divorce / Dissolution

Ms. Howard has extensive experience in mediating divorces. She acts as a private and confidential mediator and does not represent either party. She is instead neutral, helping spouses or partners to reach a fair settlement through negotiation. Often, mediation is quicker and less expensive than going to court. People can craft their own agreement—one that fits their individual family.

Within the last several years, severe cuts in Superior Court personnel have resulted in longer wait times to get documents processed and to get matters heard. Mediation provides a way to bypass going to court hearings and to have all paperwork submitted to the court without having to appear. Mediation, when successful, provides a way to dissolve a marriage or relationship in a fair manner that works for both parties.

One of Ms. Howard's roles as mediator is to provide information so that each side can make educated decisions related to the divorce. If successful, the mediation results in a marital settlement agreement to which both parties agree. The advantages are that the agreement is a much better one than the courts could reach; you have made your own decisions; you have kept your personal and financial information private, and you have not subjected your children to the often harsh and contentious elements of a traditional divorce. You and your spouse are more likely to communicate better when future issues arise. Once the settlement is reached, Ms. Howard files the necessary documents to begin the divorce and drafts the settlement to file with the court.

Mediation in Child Custody

In child custody mediation, the parents retain control over the custody process and the decisions that are made. Instead of fighting in court and letting a stranger make decisions about their child and what is in that child's best interest, parents work together outside of court in deference to the best interest of the child(ren). In mediation, parents resolve child custody disputes and work out a child sharing plan without having to appear in court. After age 14, children's wishes are considered but not necessarily given great weight.  It is very difficult for a child to be put in the middle of the parents' conflict.  Let the child be a child and let the parents, parent.

Attorney Anne B. Howard can work with parents to resolve any of the following child custody disputes:

• A Dispute in a New Divorce Proceeding or a Change in an Existing Child Custody or Parenting Situation 
• A Child Custody Dispute in Families Where the Parents Never Married
• A Change in Child Custody Arrangements Where the Custodial Parent Wants to Relocate Out-of-State

Once a workable solution is reached, Ms. Howard prepares the written agreement, which then becomes a court order. Children are kept out of the conflict.

Other Mediation Services Provided by Attorney Anne B. Howard:
• Probate and Elder Law Mediation

California State Bar Association License #207879