Mediation: you have probably heard of this process before. Either from a friend who has gone through a divorce before or a family member who recommends utilizing this process. In any event, most attorneys will advise you to at least consider using mediation for your divorce. This is because there are many potential benefits to using this ADR ("Alternative Dispute Resolution") method. Some of them include saving you substantial time and money.
What is exactly is divorce mediation? In mediation, a third-party neutral facilitates negotiations between the two parties in a divorce. Usually both parties are represented by an attorney. The parties and even attorneys are not in the same room during this process. All issues in a divorce such as property division, alimony, custody and visitation are all determined. Once the parties come to an agreement on all issues, this is then presented to the court to be finalized. However, a mediation agreement is not permanent until this happens and either party can back out until this moment. In other words, just because you go to mediation doesn't mean you are not able to pursue litigation should the need arise.
There are major benefits of utilizing divorce mediation over a contested divorce litigation. One benefit is that a mediation is strictly confidential. Details that could have become public in a courtroom but instead stay private. Secondly, mediation can truly save money for both parties. Litigation can be expensive. Third, mediation can save everyone time as litigation can often be lengthy. In some cases, a divorce trial could go on for years. Furthermore, mediation allows you to determine how your divorce agreement should be instead of leaving it up to a judge. Lastly, it can many times avoid high conflict disputes and spare any children in the marriage from this conflict. Emotionally it can be much healthier for all parties involved both parents and children.
For more information about divorce in California and the mediation process, it is important that you consult with an experienced family law attorney as soon as possible.