Mediators in California and around the country are not unlike intelligence agencies in that their failures are there for all the world to see while their successes go largely unheralded. However, this should not plant seeds of doubt in the minds of divorcing couples who wish to resolve their differences amicably and avoid protracted and confrontational legal battles. For divorce mediation to be successful, the parties involved should all be committed to finding solutions that work for all concerned.
As with many aspects of the divorce process, mediation is more likely to be productive when both spouses go into it knowing what they hope to achieve and what to expect. Spouses who feel that they have been cajoled or misled into mediation may enter the sessions with a truculent attitude that all but precludes a successful outcome, but those who are able to remain flexible while focusing on clear goals could find the process more rewarding and less stressful than traditional court proceedings.
In addition to providing faster results than litigation, mediation allows divorcing couples to explore creative solutions to complex problems. Successful divorce mediation may also leave both spouses essentially happy with the outcome and can greatly reduce the likelihood of future legal conflicts. Mediation also offers a more private venue for dispute resolution than a courtroom and is generally far less expensive than litigation.
Divorce attorneys will sometimes recommend this procedure to clients who genuinely hope to resolve their differences in a constructive atmosphere. However, divorces are often initiated after civil dialogue has completely broken down, and attorneys may sometimes wait for cooler heads to prevail before recommending alternative dispute resolution methods.