For some California couples, mediation can be an effective way to settle issues related to their divorce. However, the process won't be successful unless those going through it believe that it can help them. Typically, couples who have had a history of resolving conflict together have a good chance of doing the same with the help of a mediator. However, those who can't communicate or resolve conflict may exit the process with only a vague plan moving forward.
Communication is one of the most important elements for a successful mediation process. If there are issues related to abuse or past criminal activity, it may be difficult for a couple to talk frankly and openly about what they need from the other person. It may make it harder for one or both parties to truly stand up for themselves and tell the other how they feel on a variety of issues.
Assuming there is no abuse, couples still need to work with each other when it comes to understanding what the other person wants and needs. Otherwise, the process can take a long time to complete if it is finished at all. If a couple has an issue communicating or one person just cannot see why the other feels a certain way about a particular issue, it may be best to opt for litigation.
Even if a couple opts for divorce mediation, it may still be beneficial to have an attorney on hand throughout the process. Legal may be able to review a final mediation agreement to ensure that it meets a client's needs. This may be important because once an agreement is approved by the court, it becomes binding on both parties.