When a California couple has decided to head to divorce, they may have the option to attend mediation. This alternative to litigation allows the two parties to sit down together with a third, disinterested party and negotiate various issues that may be proving difficult to agree upon on their own. In general, mediation provides a number of benefits that traditional divorce procedures do not.
Mediation can save thousands on court costs. This is partly because it takes place on the the parties' own schedule and not on the court's. Further, mediation is generally less stressful for everyone involved, especially the children of the divorcing couple. Not only do the children get to see their parents cooperating with each other, mediation is more likely to result in joint custody. This means that the children are more likely to maintain strong bonds with both parents.
Not all cases are suitable for mediation, however. In cases where the parties cannot cooperate, mediation could potentially cause more arguments. Mediation sessions cover many issues, including the division of property, the matter of spousal maintenance and child custody issues. Further, if the ex-couple has a history of abuse, it is likely that mediation will not be an effective strategy for that particular ex-couple.
Whether or not a couple decides to go through this particular form of alternative dispute resolution, a family law attorney can assist a client with the overall divorce process. If both parties agree to mediation, the attorney provide representation if the client so desires. Such an attorney can also help determine if a potential agreement is fair before it is finalized.
Source: American Bar Association, "Benefits of Mediation in Divorce Cases", Holly Clemente, accessed on March 3, 2015