Divorcing couples often conflict over elements in their dissolution agreement. Fortunately, these spouses have an option that does not involve taking their dispute to court: mediation.
Mediation for a California divorce can lead to a successful resolution if the two parties are willing to work together. The end result is generally an agreement that is fair and tailored to their specific situation. At Palmer Rodak & Associates, we are trained to represent clients who are utilizing a mediation process. A principal at our law firm, Attorney Matthew E. Palmer, also serves as Pro Tem Mediator for Family Court Services in court-ordered mediation.
Settlement Details Are Made by the Spouses
A courtroom drama may give the spouse their day in court, but they will have no control over the final outcome. In the end, the judge makes all the decisions. Their determination can lead one or both spouses to feel like they have lost.
Mediation works differently. The spouses retain control over the result. Mediation’s purpose is to encourage spouses to reach a mutually satisfactory conclusion to any issues related to their divorce. There can be creative parenting schedules, enhanced child support, specific property that stays with certain spouses, and other provisions that support the best interests of the child and the newly single life of the parents.
A completed draft of the settlement agreement is filed with the court. Unless the judge sees something unfair, they will typically approve the agreement and incorporate it into the final judgment.
Former spouses are more likely to honor agreements that they had a hand in making. Mediated agreements generally have a higher compliance rate than court-ordered judgments.
Divorces Conclude Faster with Mediation
Packed court dockets, motions, and other divorce actions usually mean a divorce that goes to court takes longer to conclude. Mediation is driven by the schedules of the involved parties. Many divorce cases can be resolved within a few months. Divorces contested in court can take one year or longer.
The efficiency of mediation has a related benefit. Less time usually means less cost. Without the grandstanding that occurs at trial, mediation is not as stressful. A conference room also provides a less intimidating environment than a courtroom. The discussions that occur during mediation are less likely to become public fodder. Other benefits of mediation include the following:
Mediators Remain Neutral Throughout the Process
Mediators serve neither spouse. As a neutral third party, the mediator cannot offer legal advice. They can educate the spouses about divorce laws, but they cannot sway either spouse toward any decision. Their role is to discern where there is an agreement and to understand how far apart the spouses are in other matters.
The mediator can suggest options and alternatives as a starting point for the spouses to begin a discussion.
Mediation can be used to find agreement on any element of the divorce:
While the mediator cannot provide legal counsel, we strongly advise each spouse to retain their own legal counsel to support them through the process.
Court Remains an Option
Mediation works in many – but not all – divorce cases. If an agreement cannot be reached, the parties retain the right to seek a traditional divorce trial. A judge makes the final decision about unresolved divorce matters.
Learn If Mediation Is Right for You
Mediation is an effective alternative to traditional divorce court if both parties are willing to roll up their sleeves to work together honestly and openly. A skilled mediator guides the conversation so that the spouses identify compromises. Divorce does not have to be a win-or-lose game.
Learn more about divorce mediation in a free consultation with our team. Contact us online or call (760) 573-2223 to schedule.