Divorce mediation as an option in California

While many people believe that a divorce will involve extended and bitter litigation, there is an alternative process through which they may go called divorce mediation. With mediation, a trained, neutral third party will work to facilitate the couple's reaching an agreement so they can settle their divorce without needing to go through expensive and lengthy court proceedings.

Typically, mediation involves several basic steps. The couple will first meet separately with the mediator so that the mediator can find out what each wants in their divorce. Next, the mediator will meet with both spouses in a joint session. They will work by going back and forth between the spouses to help them negotiate a settlement with which they both agree.

If a full agreement is reached, the mediator will then prepare a memorandum of understanding outlining the agreement. The couple then signs it and it is filed with the court. Judges then normally accept the agreement as written and enter it as the court's orders in the case. Mediation may help people to resolve their issues much quicker. It may also be significantly less expensive than protracted litigation through the judicial system. Finally, it may help people come to an agreement that works for them instead of their relying on the court's ruling.

Divorce may be filled with emotional conflict, making people want to argue about small issues that otherwise are solvable. Mediation may help people to resolve those issues, helping them to have less conflict over time. A person who is interested in divorce mediation may want to consult with a family law attorney about using it as an alternative to litigation. Not all cases are appropriate for mediation, and an attorney may be able to give a fair assessment whether mediation is a good idea.

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