Many people who are divorcing in California may find it advantageous to go through mediation for child custody and other matters instead of going through a protracted court process. Mediation provides several advantages, including cost-effectiveness and the ability to resolve issues more quickly than the often lengthy court process.
When a decision is made to go through mediation, both parties will meet with the mediator who will try to help them work through their problems in order to come to an agreement. If the parties have great difficulty with getting along, mediators will try to accommodate that by having them in separate rooms and then going back and forth between them.
Mediators do not make a decision, but if couples are able to reach an agreement as a result, they can submit the agreement to the court to become part of an order. Those who are close to an agreement on child custody or other issues may be able to reach a resolution through mediation without having to go through a contested divorce trial. Children of divorced parents who are able to cooperate and communicate with each other for the child's benefit also are better able to handle the divorce.
Divorce mediation can be a good alternative for many people who are ending their marriage. By choosing mediation, they may be able to negotiate an agreement to more quickly reach a resolution to their case at a lower overall cost. Those who are subsequently unable to reach an agreement are still able to proceed in court. Couples who are going through a divorce may benefit by discussing whether mediation may be a good option for them with their respective family law attorneys.
Source: FIndlaw, "Child Custody Mediation FAQ", November 26, 2014