California couples who are getting a divorce may want to consider mediation. This alternative dispute resolution process may be more comfortable than litigation because people do not have to sit through the testimony of others in court and may not have to see their estranged spouses at all. Mediation is also a good time to give certain positions a test run. A mediator does not make decisions but will inform people if they are taking a position that is unlikely to be supported by a judge in court.
On the other hand, mediation provides the possibility of exploring and agreeing to solutions that would not be be ordered in litigation. If a final agreement can be reached in mediation, it is quicker and less expensive than going to court. However, if mediation ends without having arrived at a settlement, the time is usually not wasted. Couples have usually made some progress toward solutions by the time mediation ends.
People who are going to mediation can do a few things to make the process go more smoothly. They should decide ahead of time what they are not willing to budge on and what they can compromise on, but they should also try to remain reasonable and flexible. Mediation is not the time to be overcome by emotion.
Divorce mediation is often recommended to their clients by family law attorneys. It often produces more satisfactory results because people have a hand in making decisions rather than having to rely on a judge. Furthermore, mediation might be better for parents. It can set the groundwork for a cooperative relationship rather than an adversarial one, and parents might begin learning skills in mediation that they can use after the divorce as they share custody. Children also tend to adjust better in low-conflict divorces, and mediation often reduces the amount of conflict.