When two California spouses decide to go their separate ways, they must resolve numerous legal issues. If you’re a parent heading down this path, you will have the added responsibility of executing a child custody agreement. Divorce is unavoidably disruptive to family life. However, you may be able to minimize stress and expedite your settlement by choosing alternative dispute resolution (ADR) over litigation.
Mediation is a type of ADR in divorce. It works best for spouses who can peacefully discuss important issues and who share the common goal of wanting to settle their divorce as swiftly and amicably as possible. In fact, to initiate mediation, both spouses must agree to avoid confrontation and to try their best to settle their divorce out of court.
Here’s how mediation works in a divorce
The following list provides a basic overview and explanation of how you can settle a divorce without stepping foot inside a courtroom:
- Mediation is non-adversarial, with spouses working together to resolve issues in a divorce, such as child custody, child support and property division.
- Spouses agree to meet for discussion sessions where they will negotiate terms of agreement.
- A neutral third party (mediator) helps facilitate discussions and makes sure that both parties adhere to mediation rules.
- The mediator does not have decision-making authority — a judge will still approve your agreement and issue a divorce decree.
Not having to go to court to settle a divorce is a benefit of mediation that many parents find attractive because it is less stressful for their children. Mediation also typically takes less time and is more affordable than litigation.
Can you still hire an attorney for a mediated divorce?
Each spouse may act alongside legal representation during mediation sessions. These representatives would be attorneys that each spouse has hired and would be separate from the mediator. Anyone considering this divorce process who has questions may schedule a meeting with an experienced mediation attorney.