California couples who are splitting up should know that there are options available for working out division of assets, custody, support and other issues without going to court. Couples have the option of choosing mediation or a collaborative divorce instead of litigation. Both of these approaches have advantages over going to court. They can be less costly as well as taking less of an emotional toll. They give the individuals involved a chance to work out their differences with the help of professionals in a less contentious environment than a courtroom.
A professional mediator can help individuals come to an agreement on some issues even if other issues must eventually be resolved in court. Even if an agreement is not reached during mediation, the process can be helpful in preparing individuals for the court case.
In a collaborative divorce, each individual has an attorney to negotiate throughout the process. The lawyers only work with the clients as long as the divorce remains collaborative. If the couple is unable to come to an agreement and must go to court, the lawyers leave the case.
Mediation or a collaborative divorce might be good options for a couple who has a fairly amicable relationship despite needing to have some difficult conversations about issues such as child custody. However, they might also be worth the effort for couples with a more contentious relationship. In particular, mediation may allow them to resolve certain issues prior to court and to make progress on other issues even if they must ultimately be resolved by a judge. Having disinterested professionals work with couples throughout these negotiations may help them process some of the emotional difficulty of divorce and focus on the practical issues at hand.
Source: The Judicial Branch of California, “ Resolve Your Divorce or Separation Out of Court“, August 07, 2014