Photo of Professionals at McCoy Fatula, APC
Photo of Professionals at McCoy Fatula, APC

How the divorce mediation process works in California

On Behalf of | Jun 18, 2024 | Divorce Mediation

Some people in California have an obligation to attend mediation. In certain contested custody scenarios, mediation is a mandatory part of the family law process. Other times, people elect to attend mediation of their own volition due to the variety of benefits it may offer.

The confidentiality, control and minimization of conflict possible in a successful divorce mediation scenario inspire many people who don’t have custody disputes that require mediation to voluntarily attend mediation sessions.

What typically happens during divorce mediation in California?

Spouses meet with their own lawyers

Consulting with family law attorneys is usually the first step in the mediation process. Someone’s lawyer can educate them on the basics of California law and the actual procedures of mediation. A lawyer can also assist someone as they establish expectations and goals for the mediation session and the divorce in general.

Spouses hire a mediator

There are numerous mediation professionals with a variety of different focuses and skill sets. Couples may work with someone recommended by one of their lawyers or someone local with a strong record of success.

Everyone meets with the mediator

Mediation typically occurs if everyone meeting all together. Both spouses, their lawyers and the neutral third-party mediator sit down together to discuss the process and the basics of the current disagreements between the spouses.

Spouses have to make certain disclosures to each other, including providing information about assets and debts. They then have an opportunity to review that information with their lawyers in preparation for another joint mediation session.

During that session, everybody talks about the information provided in disclosure documents and each party’s concept of a fair solution for property division and parenting matters. With the help of the mediator, it is often possible for spouses to agree on specific terms that they then include in a document.

The spouses sign a binding agreement that they can later present to the courts as part of an uncontested divorce filing. If the spouse is cannot reach an agreement, then their case may go on to court where a judge makes choices based on the unique details about the family.

Knowing what to expect during divorce mediation can help people feel more confident about this common form of alternative dispute resolution. Mediating divorce conflict can be a viable solution for many couples in California.

FindLaw Network