Divorce mediation is a beneficial alternative to resolving a divorce without taking the matter to court. Mediation is considered an informal resolution, and any settlement reached must be approved by a judge, but it is often much easier for couples to handle the process in this manner. Judges often encourage spouses to attempt mediation before taking the matter to court. It is worthwhile for California couples to seriously consider mediation as the method of settling their divorce, especially if they are parents.
There are several advantages of divorce mediation. First, both parties are entitled to legal counsel just as they would be in court. Instead of a judge, mediation is handled by a neutral third party mediator. Professional mediators are often appointed by the court to assist in divorces. The mediator is there to help both sides reach an agreeable settlement. Unlike a judge, the mediator cannot enforce or demand any settlement or terms.
The mediation process is usually conducted in a series of sessions. The first session is an introductory session where the parties will meet those involved and present the basics of their disagreements and any initial terms they are offering. The parties will then gather and present any additional information required. Often, each party will meet with the mediator in private. The two parties will then begin negotiation that will continue until an agreement is reached or the parties decide that they will be unable to reach an agreement and must take the matter to court.
An attorney is an invaluable part of a person's mediation team. The attorney can coach the client on the mediation process and advise them of their rights during mediation. The attorney can help the client to gather the information and documents that will be needed, and can review any settlement terms or offers to ensure they are reasonable.
Source: Findlaw, "How Can Divorce Mediation Lawyers Help in Divorce Mediation? ", December 09, 2014