(805) 477-0505

Ventura County Divorce Attorney & Mediator

Divorce mediation is a voluntary process that allows couples to resolve their marital issues outside the court system. It allows couples to make their own decisions and evaluate their own situations. Mediation enables couples to question their own assumptions, reconsder their positions, and explore a variety of possible solutions through “brainstorming” in a safe context, where the true interests of the couple can be discussed with openness and honesty. It helps minimize the costs of divorce and provides a context in which a couple can respectfully resolve any or all of the issues in a divorce, including custody and visitation of children, spousal and child support, division of assets and liabilities. Divorce mediation is not limited to the issues that a court will deal with, but can also include matters of concern to a couple that are beyond the scope of the family law courts, such as flexible co-parenting, post-dissolution estate planning, step-parent visitation, post-separation dating, or the continued joint operation of a family owned business. Aside from the cost advantages, mediation avoids many of the pitfalls of a litigated divorce. Divorce is a legal process that requires careful attention to the applicable laws, and deals with issues that have far reaching legal consequences. There is no license required in California to be a mediator, and no requirement for a divorce mediator to have any knowledge of the relevant laws. It is a common practice of mediators, whether they have a legal background or not, to advise their clients to seek the advice of a lawyer, either during or after the mediation to review the settlement agreement. As a lawyer, I review settlement agreements that are referred to me by mediators. As a mediator, I help my clients negotiate settlement agreements that do not have to be renegotiated because of legal problems such as lack of enforceability or unanticipated legal consequences. Couples often tell me that they “just want what’s fair.” Usually this boils down to their desire to obtain the same result from mediation that they would have gotten from a judge if they had gone to court. My response is that there are very few things that are predictable in a case that goes to court, mainly because a lot of it depends on which judge hears their case, or even if the judge is known — how much attention he will be able to give to their case given the enormous case loads in the family courts, and even if he has had sufficient time to properly review their case, the results will still vary because of the many subjective factors that enter into the judicial decision making process. All that being said, as a mediator with 20 + years of family law experience, I can help my clients intelligently evaluate their situation. There are several different styles of mediation, and this type is referred to as “evaluative.” Another way of resolving the issues that arise in a divorce is to find the best possible way to meet each of the spouses interests. This is possible to a great degree because most interests are not mutually exclusive, and also because it is often possible for the couple to creatively explore ways to achieve their real interests. In this style of mediation the mediator’s role is not “evaluative” but rather to help facilitate communications between the spouses, to help clarify what the real interests of each of the spouses and to help them “brainstorm” for solutions to difficult problems. This style of mediation is referred to as “facilitative. Both the “evaluative” and “facilitative” styles of mediation can be employed where appropriate. Just as there are a variety of mediation styles, there are also a many different ways in which a mediation can proceed. One typical “model” is for the wife and husband to jointly attend the first meeting with the mediator, and then for each of the spouses to meet individually with the mediator for the next session. By meeting separately, each spouse has the opportunity to alert the mediator to any concerns or issues they may have that they find difficult communicating to their spouse. The individual sessions are then followed with another joint meeting in which the mediator can help the spouses work towards a resolution of their differences. In situtions where one of the spouses needs assistance in understanding some of the financial considerations, a neutral financial expert such as a CPA or financial planner can be brought into the mediation process to provide the necessary information, and when helpful to even attend a joint mediation session with both of the spouses. A neutral child therapist can also be brought into the mediation process to help the couple deal with custody and visitation issues, as well as to help deal with the children’s needs during the dissolution process. The decision to engage “neutral experts” in the mediation process depends upon the complexity of the issues as well as the financial resources available to the spouses. Barton Pokras will explain the various mediation options available to you, and help you decide upon the best course of action to successfully mediate the issues in your particular situation. The Law Offices of Barton Pokras serves clients throughout Ventura County and Southern California, including Westlake Village, Thousand Oaks, Ventura, Oxnard, Camarillo, Newbury Park, Ojai, Fillmore, Santa Paula, Moorpark, Simi Valley, Agoura Hills, Calabasas, Woodland Hills, Encino and Malibu.

Testimonials

“What I liked most was he listened to me”

After my ex-spouse made a custody change without discussing with me, I contacted Mr. Pokras. He immediately understood the urgency of my case, had paperwork complete the same night…

Chuck, Ventura County

“With his sincere compassion for me as a person, he shattered the perceived mold of a typical lawyer”

He was highly professional, remarkably proficient in the law and all its nuances, and persistently resolved in achieving what was equitable with incredibly creativeness, especially in the courtroom…

Sandy, Ventura County

“He was an engaged advocate committed to protecting my position throughout”

My experience with Barton Pokras started out great and just got better! At the outset, he was able to put me at ease during a very difficult divorce process. His expertise was evident immediately. His measured, consistent, calm approach finally won the day...

Peter, Ventura County

“Barton is a wonderful human being to have in your corner through a tumultuous and emotional divorce proceeding”

Before hiring Barton I asked him to keep the focus on my daughter's future interests, and not get distracted by the emotional roller coaster. He did just that!

D.C., Ventura County

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Location The Law Offices of Barton Pokras

Serving clients throughout Ventura County and Southern California, including Westlake Village, Thousand Oaks, Ventura, Oxnard,
Camarillo, Newbury Park, Ojai, Fillmore, Santa Paula, Moorpark, Simi Valley, Agoura Hills, Calabasas, Woodland Hills, Encino and Malibu

Ventura Office

1198 Navigator Drive #20
Ventura, CA 93001
Phone: 805-477-0505

Fax: 805-676-1481
Email: Barton@PokrasLaw.com

Westlake Village Office

3075 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd.
Westlake Village, CA 91362
Phone: 805-477-0505

Fax: 805-676-1481
Email: Barton@PokrasLaw.com