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Not all family law cases have to be a fight. At the Law Offices of Stephen L. Cawelti, we believe that a lot can be accomplished through cooperation and collaboration under the right circumstances. Whether the parties agree on everything or nothing, our firm can help you move forward through the mediation process. Many of our cases start in mediation with our firm representing both parties to come to resolutions, saving time, money and emotions in the process. While a settlement cannot be finalized before the parties’ initial disclosures of assets and debts are exchanged, we encourage our clients to talk freely about what it might take to settle the case. We pride ourselves on a successful track record of settling nearly all of our cases that commit to the mediation process, often without having to set foot in a courtroom. While settling your case through early mediation may be preferable, it’s not always possible right away. Oftentimes, discovery and some early litigation are necessary before a case is positioned properly for mediation. Whether one or both parties have unreasonable expectations that initially need to be dealt with in court, or you need assertive representation to get your matter ready for mediation, our firm’s “cost/benefit analysis” approach can help you and your family navigate the choppy waters of family law mediation. Once disclosures and discovery are completed, many of our cases use the services of a retired family law judge to reach a settlement and enter the final family law judgment. This allows the parties to avoid trial in the court system, often avoiding long delays and great expense. Some parties can benefit from taking their case out of the public court and into a “private judge” scenario, speeding up the resolution process and avoiding the airing of “dirty laundry” in the public record. A subset of mediation, called Collaborative Law, allows the parties to avoid court, working with an organized team to cooperatively negotiate and mediate family law matters. When the parties have mutual respect for each other and a commitment to transparency and honesty, Collaborative Law can help reduce many of the emotional stresses that so often accompany family law cases. However, if the collaborative process ends without an agreement, both teams are disbanded and new attorneys and experts must be retained to move the case into the court system. Even then, agreements are still possible, just with new attorneys. Contact a Burbank family law attorney to talk about whether Collaborative Law is right for your case.