Divorce mediation is usually less expensive than contested divorce litigation. It is designed to allow couples to figure out what will work best for their family regarding issues like child custody or property division instead of leaving these issues to a court to decide. Mediation is an option that is becoming more common for California couples whose marriages are coming to an end.
Many couples choose the process because hiring a mediator usually costs less than hiring attorneys for both sides. Couples can also save time spent arguing over important issues because mediation is focused on helping the parties reach an agreement. It can sometimes reduce the costs of repeated litigation because the parties have a chance to negotiate for terms in a settlement agreement that will work for them over time.
Many couples who could benefit from mediation are not aware of its advantages. A mediator is an impartial third party who tries to help opposing parties with this process. Some divorcing couples may be reluctant to engage in the mediation process because they believe their spouse will be unwilling to make the compromises necessary to reach a mutually acceptable agreement. Mediation may not work for every case. Some couples may have deep-seated issues that need to be worked out individually with a therapist before they are able to discuss an agreement. Clients must have confidence in the process for it to work.
When mediation is not feasible, couples still have the options of trying to come to an agreement on their own or going to court. The disadvantage of letting a judge decide the case is that both sides may end up unhappy with the final outcome. A family law attorney can be of assistance to a divorcing spouse in either scenario, but legal counsel will often try to assist a client in negotiating a comprehensive settlement agreement that covers property division and other applicable issues.