Kathleen J. Smith, Attorney at Law
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Reach a divorce settlement through mediation, no judge needed

The thought of going through the divorce process can understandably be emotionally overwhelming and exhausting. After all, divorce is often portrayed in the media as a long and contentious battle that never seems to end.

In reality, dissolving a marriage in California does not have to be an acrimonious process. With mediation, divorcing couples can work to resolve their issues and reach a settlement outside of the courtroom.

What is divorce mediation?

Mediation, which is also known as structured negotiation, is an alternative dispute resolution process used to settle divorce-related disputes. The process involves a third party who helps the spouses to achieve a resolution with which they both agree. The mediator will explain the procedures of the process and help to facilitate communication between the spouses.

Using a mediator is helpful if you and your spouse are having a hard time coming to an agreement on matters such as the division of property, alimony or child custody. Unlike a jury or judge, the neutral third party, called the mediator, cannot force the spouses to simply accept a particular settlement. Instead, the mediator's role is to help the spouses to achieve an agreement.

With the mediator's help, the couple can decide what resolution is best for their particular situation instead of having to let the law dictate what they do. This essentially eliminates the unpredictability of divorce litigation and makes the couple feel more in control of their marital split-up.

How does the process work?

Typically, several sessions are required to complete divorce mediation. The process usually features multiple stages, including the following:

  • Introduction
  • The gathering of information
  • Private caucuses with the third party
  • Negotiation
  • Final resolution

How does the process work?

Thanks to the relatively amicable nature of mediation, its use has become a growing trend. A huge benefit of mediation is that it is less costly and stressful than the courtroom squabbles associated with traditional litigation.

It can be especially helpful for divorcing parents who will have to co-parent in the future, as mediation allows them to practice working out their differences and finding common ground — something they may have to do for many years until their children turn 18. During mediation, you ultimately have the right to fight for a personally favorable outcome while seeking a mutually beneficial settlement with your future ex.

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