Winston Churchill once said, "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak. Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen."
In California, mediation provides a chance to put Churchill's advice into practice. It is a voluntary, nonadversarial option available to people involved in legal disputes. It is usually far less expensive than litigation, is preferred by judges, and can provide a satisfactory outcome for parties willing to work together.
At Sena Family Law & Mediation Practice, Cheryl A. Sena has significant expertise and training in alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods. She can help you determine if your situation is best resolved in this manner. She can also provide tips for success and answer your questions.
Over the past 30 years, Ms. Sena has successfully mediated disputes in many areas of law, including:
- Dissolution of business or domestic partnerships
- Child custody and visitation
- Child support
- Spousal support
- Division of marital assets and debts
- Home ownership and tenancies in common
The Many Benefits Of Mediation
Resolving disputes outside the courtroom can often save clients money. It can also provide a sense of closure. Frequently, the mediation or collaborative law process allows both parties to feel like they were heard and are now able to move on with their lives.
Mediation also allows the parties to retain control of the process, as opposed to giving all the power to the court. They also have the opportunity to create nuanced agreements that reflect their own particular situations instead of accepting one of the cookie-cutter solutions that the court may impose.
The Couple May Or May Not Require Lawyers
A mediator is someone who guides clients, with or without legal counsel, through the process of reaching a mutually acceptable solution. If both clients understand their marital assets and have similar psychological demeanors, they can often participate in mediation without counsel present. However, if they do not have a clear understanding of their assets, or if an imbalance of psychological power exists in the room, it is often better to have lawyers present.
Read about what to look for when choosing a mediation attorney or mediator.
Attorney Cheryl A. Sena On Cooperative Litigation
"Resolution of a family law matter, whether custody, property settlement, support or restraining orders, is the task of the family lawyer," says Ms. Sena. "While litigation is always available, I try to see whether other forms of dispute resolution can work. Even if litigation is required, the process should be tailored to cause the least amount of harm to the family."
Ms. Sena understands that good relations between opposing counsel can limit some of the more painful litigation techniques.
"I believe that 'cooperative litigation,' defined as respectful discussions with opposing counsel trying to find the balancing point for an equitable settlement, can be the best way to get the most meaningful resolution," she says. "As a result of more than 30 years of practice, focusing on honesty and integrity, I have created a foundation for an open exchange of ideas toward equitable resolution."
To arrange a free initial consultation with mediation attorney Cheryl A. Sena, call 415-906-2556. You can also reach our San Francisco office by email.