When Californians think about divorce, they usually imagine a case of two spouses battling it out in court. This is a traditional divorce, where both parties settle divorce legal issues through the litigation process. However other, less combative, options are available, such as divorce mediation.
Divorce mediation is a non-traditional process to end a marriage in California. Many couples are turning to mediation to resolve divorce legal issues and negotiate a divorce on their own terms. Divorce mediation requires that spouses meet with a mediator, a professional who helps both parties resolve issues concerning child custody, property division and financial support.
The mediator's goal is to have the spouses reach a mutual agreement regarding their divorce. Aside from facilitating financial and legal issues, a divorce mediator can also help both spouses communicate effectively. A mediator also allows both parties to explore different settlement options and reach decisions best for all those involved.
During the mediation process, both parties, together with the neutral mediator, make decisions in a private setting, not in court. Divorcing couples who choose mediation usually save money by eliminating some court costs and fees. In traditional litigation, every court appearance increases a person's divorce expenses. Mediation can also reduce the stress attributed to divorce. Because the mediator helps both parties to communicate, the personal issues that usually arise during the process can be reduced.
The main goal of a mediated divorce is to create an equitable and mutually acceptable divorce agreement. Aside from a neutral mediator, it is also recommended that spouses using this process consult with an attorney, at a minimum for review of the final agreement. Any outstanding legal can be addressed by this review before the document is signed.
Source: Calbar.ca.gov, "What should I know about divorce and custody" Accessed Sept. 25, 2014