While many people have probably heard of mediation, it may not be exactly what they pictured. For most couples going through a divorce, a divorce mediation is likely in their cards. In many states, mediation is required before a couple can proceed with litigation. Some people may think this is just another situation for negotiations to take place. A “counselor” can help talk through any differences the divorcing parties may be facing. However, this is not the case and reality of a divorce mediation.
The Reality Of Divorce Mediations
There is no special counselor to help you talk through your marital issues or any contentious matters. This is not the place for that. Mediation is facilitated by a neutral third-party. Someone who is trained (sometimes a former judge or attorney but not an attorney representing any of the parties) in conducting the mediation. He or she is a go-between who can help with negotiations but does not counsel or provide any advice. Neutrality is key to a successful mediator.
Do not expect your mediator to act like a judge. Unfortunately, some parties will go into a mediation thinking someone will make the decision for them. A final ruling you might say. This is another misconception. The mediator is not a judge or arbitrator. He or she is not required to make a decision and in fact should not be making any decisions for the parties.
What you can expect from a mediation is a more efficient and less-costly divorce. This is the case for most divorces that are settled through mediation. Furthermore, the resolution of all divorce issues such as property division, child custody, spousal support and child support are done in a way that the parties deem appropriate. The agreement is catered to the wishes of each party in the divorce, rather than a judge making the final decision.
Of course, a mediation agreement must be approved by a family court judge who will then issue a final divorce decree. If you are seeking a divorce in California and would like more information about divorce mediation, the divorce process and more, reach out to an experienced family law attorney today.