What is the process of divorce mediation?

Couples in California who are contemplating a divorce may benefit from learning more about how the process of divorce mediation works. Mediation serves as an alternative means to litigation for couples attempting to negotiate the terms of a divorce. Couples either voluntary go to mediation or are referred by a court order. An objective mediator leads the process by focusing on negotiating, creative problem solving and communication to reach an amicable agreement between the parties.

Mediation helps to avoid the expenses, emotional stress and tension that are often associated with litigation. Judges frequently refer cases to mediation because the process gives many couples more ownership in negotiating the terms and particulars of their divorce agreement than they would have in a court setting. The majority of the states require couples arguing over child custody terms to attend mediation.

If mediation is court-ordered, a party has the right to object if there is a justifiable reason. The court appoints a mediator if the parties have not done so. The mediator can be a lawyer or other objective third party. The mediator does not determine who is right or wrong, but works with the couple to reconcile and communicate enough to reach an amicable divorce agreement for both parties. Whether communicating as a group or one on one, the rules of mediation require all matters concerning the process to remain confidential.

Mediation focuses on helping spouses at least reach a settlement, if not an agreement. An individual considering a divorce may benefit from speaking with an attorney who has experience with mediation and other forms of alternative dispute resolution. The attorney can help explain how the procedure works in guiding a client through the divorce process.

Source: Findlaw, "Divorce Mediation - Overview", August 21, 2014

Source: Findlaw, "Divorce Mediation - Overview", August 21, 2014

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