California couples who may be considering different routes to the dissolution of their marriage may want to investigate the possibility of the use of mediation. Mediation offers several advantages over traditional adversarial court appearances, from saving money to preventing dissent, and it has become increasingly popular in recent years.
Mediation is the process by which both parties voluntarily consult with a trained negotiator who listens to both sides and attempts to offer options for the least traumatic and disruptive way forward. The mediator will help to answer issues relating to child care, child custody, spousal support, maintenance payments and the division of marital assets. The mediation process can result in a legally binding divorce decree.
Mediation is often less time-consuming than litigation, and it can be more sparing to the emotional health of each of the parties involved. Moreover, since the divorce decree is arrived at through voluntary participation and negotiation, the feeling is that both parties will be more likely to comply with its stipulations. Since many problems are worked out before the process comes to the judge, court time is less extensive and expensive than it might otherwise be.
Divorce mediation minimizes the exposure to the court and the legal system. If the court can be presented with a divorce settlement and parenting plan that fulfills all conditions of the law, then it will often enter it into a court order without further dispute. It can be helpful to have an attorney check over the Judgement of Dissolution and any other relevant documentation produced by the mediation process to make certain that everything is in compliance.
Source: The State Bar of California, "What Should I Know About Divorce And Custody?", October 29, 2014