Family Law Attorney Los Angeles
Family Lawyer & Family Mediation Expert | Michael H. White
Family law disputes can involve any number of issues: divorce, elder law, probate, child custody, and property settlement matters, among others. But regardless of the type of family law, all family disputes can benefit in dramatic ways from Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) techniques such as mediation, arbitration, and collaborative law.
These legal processes focus on collaboration rather than competition, and have been developed over the past four decades to resolve family disputes in a non-adversarial way. They seek to reach mutually beneficial legal solutions, while at the same time reducing the high cost, long delays, emotional anguish, and fearful uncertainty of the traditional family court system.
Family Litigation vs. Family Mediation
Traditional court-based litigation is based on an adversarial model of dispute resolution – which often creates more problems than it solves. Under traditional family law, attorneys are mandated to obtain the best possible outcome for their clients, regardless of the consequences to the other parties – including unrepresented children, or dependent adults, who may be caught in the middle.
All family law disputes involve redefining relationships. For example, divorce redefines a spouse as an “ex-spouse.” Yet those same relationships often continue after the legal papers are signed (e.g., joint custody or joint parenting issues may remain). The traditional divorce process can create lasting scars that impair the development of an amicable, ongoing relationship, which has negative consequences for the children and dependents as well the couple themselves.
Changes in the family relationship will undoubtedly occur – a parent moving out, a child in trouble with the law, an aging parent needing a decision made about his or her care when siblings caretakers cannot agree. But the good news is that, through family mediation, painful family conflicts can become an opportunity to redefine relationships in a more positive, constructive, and sustainable way – with improved communication and mutual respect.
What kind of future do you want?
Will your ongoing relationship with your parents, siblings or spouse be positive and constructive, or negative and destructive? Will you learn how to listen better and communicate more respectfully, or will you carry the same pain, anger and resentment into the future?
Family mediation offers a better way to resolve family law disputes, since the process itself promotes healing. In family mediation, a neutral third party is brought in by the disputing parties to help define their areas of disagreement – with the goal of eventually drawing up a legally-binding agreement. A mediator does not provide legal advice or advocate for either side. The mediator facilitates meetings, which may involve only the mediator and the two disputing parties, or may include the attorneys representing the parties as well.
Two core values underlie the mediation process: 1) it is voluntary, and 2) it is confidential. Beneath these principles is the assumption that the disputing parties are themselves capable, with the assistance of an experienced mediator, of resolving their own disputes – regardless of the complexity and emotional content, and despite the historic commitment to a litigation process that is costly, inefficient, and not qualified to achieve the best outcome.
There are a variety of different approaches that may be taken in family mediation, and thus there is a much greater degree of control, confidentiality, and flexibility for all parties. Mediation can even be brought into an adversarial process, with the parties engaging in a mediation process at any point in time – even before any legal proceeding is initiated.
Los Angeles mediator and family law attorney Mike White
Are you looking for a positive, constructive outcome to your family conflicts? Do you want to achieve healthy outcomes that are sustainable, fair, and long-term?
Professional mediator and family lawyer Michael H. White is an experienced family law expert with over 30 years of private practice and over 15 years of family mediation experience, with special expertise in divorce mediation, collaborative divorce, and end-of-life issues. He has also spent years teaching family law mediation at the university level as well.
Call Mike White today at (818) 368-0444 for a free consultation.