Going through a divorce in California can be difficult both emotionally and logistically. Between property division and child custody, there are a lot of issues to sort through when a married couple parts ways. Bringing every dispute in front of a judge and making the details of a split a public court record can make a difficult situation even worse.
Many people don't know that a divorce does not have to be litigated in a courtroom. If the couple can maintain decent communication during the process, issues can be negotiated in private mediation sessions. Mediation is done with a neutral third party who helps a couple to reach agreements that may later be included in a final divorce settlement.
Mediation is usually a much less stressful process than litigation. The agreements that are reached in mediation can be tailored to a couple's unique family situation, and the process is generally less expensive than going to court. Parents that are going through a divorce may choose mediation because it can be a healthier process for their children. Even if children do not witness the court proceedings, they will likely pick up on their parents' elevated stress levels at home.
During the mediation process, the estranged couple is of course entitled to have the representation of their respective family law attorneys. If and when an agreement is reached, it should be reduced to writing, reviewed by the attorneys and then submitted to the court to be made part of the final divorce decree. Any issue that is unable to be resolved at the mediation sessions can be the subject of litigation.