California residents who are going through a divorce may believe that litigation is the best way to resolve the matter. However, opting for mediation instead of going to court may provide even more benefits. During the mediation process, a neutral third party facilitates a conversation between the estranged spouses. This may make it possible for couples to stop fighting with each other and come to a middle ground on some or all issues.
Mediators are often former lawyers or judges, but this is not always the case. One of the biggest benefits of going to mediation is that the process is kept confidential. This means that negotiations or other facts revealed during a mediation session cannot be used against a person if a case ultimately goes to trial. Another benefit to mediation is that the couple getting divorced is still in control of the process.
Nothing a mediator says is legally binding on either party, and neither party is obligated to come to an agreement after a mediation session. However, being able to talk through important issues may make it easier to settle a divorce in less time and with less frustration. Conversely, anything a judge says is generally final and binding on both parties even if they don't like the outcome.
Going through the mediation process may help to preserve relationships and protect children during a potentially emotional time. Of course, each of the estranged spouses is entitled to have the assistance of separately-retained family law attorneys during the process. The attorneys can review the resulting agreement before it is submitted to the court for its approval.