California music lovers may have heard that the wife of country music star Trace Adkins filed for divorce in March 2014. Her reported demands for a settlement worth $20 million led many observers to feel that the couple would become embroiled in a bitter legal dispute, but the performer's attorney announced on June 17 that an amicable settlement had been reached during private mediation.
California residents involved in a legal dispute may sometimes choose to seek a settlement privately and informally through mediation. While a judge presides over court proceedings, mediation takes place in the presence of a neutral third party who is not able to make binding decisions. The goal of mediation is to help disputing parties to reach an amicable agreement rather than to decide matters one way or the other. Although there is no bar against having legal representation, mediation proceedings are often conducted without attorneys present.