When preparing to end your marriage, you may have concerns about having to go to court. Believe it or not, all divorce cases do not end up in court. There are other ways to resolve conflicts and reach a fair dissolution settlement.
One option open to couples in California is mediation. What exactly is this divorce method? Does it work for everyone? Can you still have an attorney if you choose mediation?
Mediation allows a couple to meet at a neutral place with a mediator present in order to negotiate the terms of divorce. The mediator's job is not to take sides but rather to keep the conversation moving along. The mediator is also there to provide information about family law court and state laws regarding certain aspects of divorce.
Mediation is not the perfect fit for everyone, but it can work in many cases. It does not matter if there are complex issues to figure out, if a couple is willing to negotiate, they may reach a divorce settlement through the mediation process. Mediation is not appropriate if either party is unwilling to negotiate or if domestic violence is an issue in the marriage.
Timeline and benefits
Mediation can take as much time as you need it to. Every divorce case is unique. For some couples, it is possible to reach a settlement after just a few sessions. For others, they may be negotiating for months or even years.
There are several benefits to choosing mediation over a traditional divorce. Three of the most notable benefits are:
- It can save you money. Divorce is expensive. Mediation can eliminate or at least reduce court costs and limit attorney fees, which can save you a lot in the long run.
- It can save you time. If you dig and get to work, you can finalize your divorce much faster than if you were to litigate the matter.
- It offers privacy. If you take your case to court, it becomes a matter of public record. Mediation keeps the terms of your divorce private.
These benefits certainly make it worth considering before deciding on your divorce method.
What if I want an attorney?
You can still have an attorney and are actually strongly advised to. It is always good to get an attorney's advice before accepting divorce terms just to make sure they really are to your benefit.
There are pros and cons to mediation, just like any divorce method. If you want to learn more about it, you can seek legal guidance from an attorney with experience helping clients through the mediation process.