California residents who are preparing to go through the divorce process may be interested to learn about what options may be open to them. Litigation is not always necessary when ending one’s marriage, and there are ways to avoid it if both parties are willing to put some time and effort. Divorce mediation, for example, can work for most couples.

How does divorce mediation work? Couples who go this route agree to meet to negotiate the terms of their divorce. They are not alone during the negotiations process. A mediator is present at all times.

The mediator’s job is not to take sides or help one party get a better settlement than the other. The mediator’s job is simply to keep the process moving and helps the couple draft the settlement agreement that will be sent off for court approval. A person in this position can answer questions about state laws regarding some things, such as support and custody — among other things — but they are not to give personal legal advice to either party.

There are a number of benefits to utilizing mediation. First, it typically costs less than litigation. Second, it generally takes less time than the traditional divorce method. Finally, third, it gives each party a real say in the process. If a divorce is litigated, a judge gets to determine how everything will work out, which is not really ideal.

For divorce mediation to work, each party has to be willing to negotiate. Legal counsel can help with negotiations and help ensure any settlement proposed is actually fair before sending it off for approval by a California court. If a willingness to negotiate is nonexistent, litigation may be the one only way to proceed with one’s divorce.