Do you and your spouse still communicate? Are you able to be in the same room together? If so, then divorce mediation offers you a way to resolve your issues without the drama and contentious atmosphere of a courtroom.
How does divorce mediation work?
Simply put, divorce mediation allows couples to negotiate and design their own settlement. In practice, however, the process requires compromise and the willingness to work together. Even if you still get along, the reasons for the divorce undoubtedly involve complex emotions. Therefore, the first hurdle that you and your spouse need to conquer entails setting aside your feelings for each other.
The mediator serves as a neutral third party. He or she allows you, your spouse and your respective attorneys to negotiate your issues. The mediator only steps in when you require refocusing or help formulating a resolution to a particular issue. You retain control over the resolution of your issues and design a settlement that works best for you and your family.
Mediation deals with the following issues:
- Child custody
- Parenting plans
- Child support
- Alimony (also called spousal support)
- Distribution of debts and property (including retirement and tax issues)
In addition, you and your spouse enjoy the freedom of resolving any other issues between you for which the court might not account due to statutory restrictions. Because mediation allows you and your spouse to "think outside the box," your options for settlement far exceed those available to you if a judge decides your fate. As long as the settlement you agree upon does not violate current California law or public policy, a judge will more than likely approve it.
Using the mediation process also helps you and your soon-to-be former spouse to build a foundation of cooperation that benefits you and your children after the divorce. Any reservations regarding your ability to work together for the good of the children should disappear during mediation. Furthermore, this process usually takes up less time and money than a courtroom battle.
What happens if we fail to work out all of our issues?
The court decides any issues you and your spouse fail to resolve. In most cases, however, couples work diligently to reach an agreement in order to avoid that possibility. If you still require convincing, you might benefit from discussing this option with an attorney.