I always advise people to get their own attorney because it is generally a better scenario, so one side would not be able to say that they felt pressured by that one attorney to settle the case. If a party can get an attorney, then they should. If one party does not make a lot of money because the other spouse had more access to the money and more access to a job, then California law would allow that spouse to ask the court for attorney's fees so the other side could pay for an attorney. This allows both sides to have their attorneys present, although this is sometimes easier said than done.
I prefer it when the other side has an attorney, although they do not have to. I deal with all kinds of cases and can deal with people who do not have an attorney although generally speaking, it is always a better approach for the person to have their own independent legal advice so they would not have to be skeptical per se.
Can Spouses Talk To Each Other Once A Lawyer Has Been Hired?
The spouses can definitely talk to each other, although it would have to go through the attorney when it came down to settling issues about the case. The ex-spouses would generally talk if one side did not have an attorney, especially if there were children involved, because they would need to talk about co-parenting and figure out any details not pursuant to the court order, which is something an attorney should not have to do.
The parties should not try to nitpick, and they should not need their lawyer to manage every little thing in a child custody case. Parents are encouraged to co-parent and to work it out the best they can. Sometimes, they can't resolve their issues and the attorney would not be able to talk to the other side if that other side also had an attorney, although the parties generally and frequently talk when they are on speaking terms.
If they are not on speaking terms, then the attorneys would have to go through and hash it out with each other to address the issues. It makes the case very difficult when the spouses can't at least be amicable to discuss what needs to be done.
The best way to handle it would be if the spouses could talk, take whatever they came up with to the attorney, and let each of their attorneys advise them independently. A lot of cases get settled that way because both sides have an attorney and both sides feel comfortable so they become willing to settle the case because they can talk it out on their own and they can come up with their own creative solutions.
The case would sometimes need to be taken to court if the parties could not agree, and then in court the judge would be able to provide some assistance. Some judges are very good and want the case to settle in a certain way because of the facts of the case, so there is a certain path it might go, especially if the attorneys could make some arguments and let a judge know what was going on so the case could settle that way as well. The best way to settle a case, however, would be if the parties could amicably talk to each other and settle their issues.
What Goes On With Mediation And When Is That Better Than Going To Court?
Mediation is good if the parties think they can settle the case, although most people who walk into an attorney's office expect the case to be settled right away, whereas it is usually quite the contrary. A situation where one spouse was asking for spousal support whereas the other party said they felt the amount seemed too high so they refused to pay that amount, is the kind of case that would not settle out of court. It might take some judicial intervention to get a judge to make some rulings, or it might actually take filing a case with the court so the other side would get their own independent legal advice or their own attorney to look into whether or not they had to pay the spouse asking for spousal support and they could figure out what they should pay.
Mediation is a great option because attorneys generally know how a case should go, whether or not the house should be sold and generally if a house should be sold, for example, so it would an even better situation if both parties agreed to sell the house. It would be fantastic if they could agree to sell the house out of court, because then they would not necessarily have to go through the whole process to have a judge finally order them to sell their house.
People sometimes strategically try and delay proceedings so they can stay in their house, so sometimes they allege domestic violence. If it is found out that there was domestic violence, then one spouse would be kicked out of the house and the spouse who lived in the house would probably try to ride it out. There are things to consider as far as being reimbursed and credits on their house and things along those lines, so each case would be unique but generally speaking, the best way to probably go would be if both parties agreed to sell the house.
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