The decision to terminate a marriage is one of the most difficult ones a person can make.
Therefore, most people going through a divorce want to do everything they can to make the process easier on themselves and their family members. Divorce Mediation is one of those things. Let’s look at this interesting option for couples seeking a divorce.
What Is Divorce Mediation? Divorce Mediation is a way to reach a divorce agreement without going to court. In a formal mediation, both parties sit down with an impartial, third-party mediator to try to negotiate a settlement. Mediations are conducted in-person or virtually. Both parties or representatives of both parties must be present at the same time in a mediation.
Typically, the mediator is found and agreed upon by both spouses’ attorneys, and the two parties split the cost of hiring them. Sometimes only a single meeting is required, but in other cases you may sit down with your mediator several times to discuss different issues.
There is no penalty for a failed mediation (other than the costs of hiring the mediator and having an attorney present); in fact, the courts may even look favorably on the attempt to exhaust all options before appearing before them.
Is Mediation Required in California?
No, mediation is not typically required in California, except in one situation. Family court judges can order mediations to settle issues related to child custody and visitation.
This is mostly because it is so beneficial to the child (and the parents) to have an arrangement with which everyone is happy. Otherwise, it can put the child in a terrible position of playing favorites or having to choose between parents, which can cause serious, long-term psychological damage. The courts will not rule on a custody battle until mediation has been attempted and the mediator agrees that it is not likely to work.
Though almost never mandated, there are still many reasons why a divorce mediation is a good idea.