When ending a marriage, many couples don’t realize they have any options outside of the highly publicized litigable method of separation. In practice, options outside of litigation may be highly preferable to the often highly destructive and emotionally charged court battle.
Outside of divorce litigation, couples have two options. The first, annulment, is very specifically legally defined and only applicable to a small percentage of marriages. Annulment is typically only available to parties whose marriages have been either illegally or improperly conducted, as in the case of bigamy or to facilitate fraud, or for parties who are deemed incapable of performing as needed in a partnership, as in the case of those incapable of consummating a marriage.
The third option is a process called mediation. Mediation involves the use of a neutral third party to guide the couple through the process of separation, divvying up assets and resources and facilitating negotiations over items of interest such as spousal support and custody over children.
Mediation is typically a much smoother and more constructive process than traditional divorce litigation, since parties are not incentivized to fight tooth and nail over every item. Mediation turns the zero-sum game of divorce into a cooperative and amicable separation, where each party leaves the relationship with their bridges intact.
The key to a successful mediation process is the mediator themselves. No matter how amicable the parties may be, the act of separating is an inherently emotional event and it’s easy to succumb to the baser aspects of our souls as we see items and people stripped away from us.
For southern California readers who are in the process of separating from their spouses, this means getting in contact with Colleen McNamee, divorce expert and mediator. She has been working with couples during the darkest and most stressful periods of their lives for decades, and yet has managed to accrue an astonishing number of glowing testimonials from her clients over the years.
A few short examples from her Google page:
“As a financial planner, I see my clients go through a number of changes in their lives and sometimes it includes a separation/divorce. Mediation is the far better option when dissolving a marriage as it puts a lot less strain not only on the finances but also the emotions of everyone involved. This is where Colleen McNamee stands out. As an attorney-mediator, she is extremely knowledgeable in her field, has two decades of experience, but also truly cares about her clients. Something that cannot be taught in law school is the gift of empathy and caring for others, which translates into achieving fair and equitable results for couples. Thanks to her very strong skill set and the services she’s able to offer, she remains a neutral counsel to both parties throughout the process, and the Agreements she drafts are far superior to any other divorce mediator I have seen! My clients have come out feeling like they were treated fairly, received their equitable shares, and can now move forward with their lives onto their next chapters.”Katerina Hencova
“I have known Colleen McNamee for over two years and I love how she handles people who are having marriage problems. She is always interested in what is best for everyone involved, especially for any children. Sometimes, it’s a “marriage contract” that she draws up to help people stay together amicably instead of getting a divorce. If divorce is the only option, then unlike a contentious court divorce with attorneys pitting spouses against each other in public and draining the couple’s bank accounts, Colleen can get couples working together for the best solution, at far lower cost, and it’s a private matter. I highly recommend her services, and so do people who have gotten divorces through her because they often talk about how she made it so much less stressful than a courtroom divorce.”Gregg Hill
You and your partner may not be right for one another, but that doesn’t mean you want to destroy the lives and family that you’ve built together. For those of us who do not want to burn our bridges, choose the third option of mediation, with Colleen McNamee.
4590 MacArthur Blvd Suite 500, Newport Beach, CA 92660