Couples in California may have heard horror stories about divorce, but the way both parties handle dissolving a marriage matters and could make parting less difficult. Instead of going through the court process, a couple might wish to use mediation instead.
During mediation, an impartial third-party works with a couple to help them communicate and solve disagreements. Discussions with a mediator are usually kept confidential whereas court records are not. This process also typically takes less time than going to court, and it costs less.
Both parties have a chance to speak directly to each other during mediation and to solve issues themselves, and working with a mediator typically involves many of the same steps. First, an introduction occurs where rules and procedures are explained. Both parties then have a chance to express their opinions on the problems that keep them from an agreement, and the mediator asks each person questions in order to better understand their views and the conflict. The mediator talks to both people together and separately before trying to negotiate a reasonable solution that both parties agree on. A written and signed settlement agreement might follow if resolution is successful.
When trying to reach a settlement agreement through mediation, spouses must make compromises about property division, alimony, child custody and child support. A lawyer who focuses on divorce mediation may be able to help a client during the process to protect their interests. A lawyer can be present during mediation proceedings and can help their client reach a settlement with their former spouse.