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Divorce Mediation: What to Expect

Posted by Jason Wagner | Aug 31, 2023 | 0 Comments

Divorce mediation is one of three different ways to approach the process of divorce. Of the three, mediation tends to be the most popular, cost-effective, and efficient in terms of time. Litigation is the most contentious, least cost-effective, and it takes the longest to resolve. In this article, we will discuss the basics of divorce mediation and what to expect.

What is Divorce Mediation?

In a litigated divorce and even within the context of a collaborative divorce, each party necessarily has its own attorney. While spouses can retain personal counsel during divorce mediation, there is no requirement to do so, and the role of a personal attorney would be simply to read over the divorce decree once it is finalized. Instead, the spouses meet with a trained and neutral mediator who attempts to resolve issues related to the divorce. Most mediators will discourage participants in a divorce mediation from bringing their own attorneys to the table. 

Your mediator will help you to reach an agreement on issues that you may currently be disputing. Divorce mediation will not be appropriate for all types of divorces. In divorces where there is a history of abuse, or the two parties cannot reach an accord related to finances, litigation may be the only sensible option. However, many couples want to avoid litigation due to the costs involved, the animosity it raises, and the time it takes to finalize the divorce.

What is the Role of the Divorce Mediator?

A divorce mediator is a trained attorney who helps couples finalize their divorce decree. The role of the divorce mediator is to help couples agree on matters related to their divorce. This includes issues related to property division, alimony, and child custody. The mediator does not represent the interests of either party in the divorce. Instead, the mediator represents the interests of the divorce. The mediator will act as a neutral third party who works with the couple to develop mutually beneficial solutions.

The mediator will encourage both parties to respect and listen to each other's viewpoints and focus on resolving the dispute so that they can get on with their lives. The goal of mediation is to reach a mutually agreeable outcome and ensure that the process is non-adversarial.

A divorce mediator will discuss issues related to the law that concern various elements of the divorce. This includes how property division works in the State of California and legal issues related to child custody.

What are the Credentials of a Good Mediator?

Nowadays, virtually anyone can claim to be a divorce mediator. However, an actual divorce mediator is a trained professional with a law degree who has useful knowledge related to conflict resolution. You will want to find a divorce mediator who has experience mediating divorces in your local jurisdiction. You do not want a divorce mediator from Alaska who will handle your mediation over Zoom. You want someone who is familiar with the local courts, has a relationship with local judges, and has experience handling complex negotiations.

Is My Divorce a Good Candidate for Mediation?

Divorce mediation is the process by which two spouses negotiate a settlement for their divorce. The mediator plays the role of an impartial third party whose job is to resolve conflicts between the two spouses. The main requirement of a successful mediation is that both parties want to resolve the issue with as little animosity as possible. In other words, both parties will need to cooperate on the issues related to their divorce and be willing to make compromises when they are necessary. If either party refuses to compromise on specific issues, divorce mediation may break down and head into litigation. 

By the time you come to the table with your spouse and the mediator, you should have a good sense of what a fair settlement will look like. Both sides should enter the mediation feeling secure in their ability to reach a fair agreement. Neither party should feel pressured into making concessions that they feel uncomfortable with. 

Both parties should trust that their interests are being considered by the mediator. A mediator is someone who has helped resolve similar situations for other couples. They will know how best to approach difficult matters related to property division, alimony, and child custody. They will inform both parties of their options and make recommendations based on the law. 

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Divorce Mediation?

The biggest benefit of divorce mediation is that it is faster to dissolve a marriage using this method than any of the other options. Because it is faster, it is also cheaper. Instead of each party hiring an attorney, you can split the cost with your spouse. Further, it is voluntary and private. Financial matters handled in divorce mediation do not become part of the public record as they would in a litigated divorce. 

The biggest drawback to divorce mediation is that it is difficult to resolve matters when there is a vacuum of trust. In other words, not every couple will benefit from a process that does not include someone advocating on their own behalf. Divorce mediation does not typically include attorneys who advocate on behalf of their own clients. Instead, the mediator represents the interests of finalizing the divorce as opposed to one or the other spouse. 

What Happens if Mediation Does Not Work?

If mediation does not work, there are two other options: litigation and collaborative divorce. Litigation is the type of divorce you see dramatized on television. Each party has their own attorney, and the couple battles it out in front of a judge to resolve the matter in a way that is best for them. While necessary in some circumstances, it is best avoided, if possible. 

Collaborative divorce splits the difference between mediation and litigation. Each party will have their own attorney, but both parties sign a collaborative agreement that stipulates that they will commit to the collaborative process. If mediation breaks down, collaborative divorce is an option for the parties to reach an accord without battling it out in court.

Talk to a Sacramento, CA Divorce Lawyer Today

Wagner Family Law represents the interests of Sacramento residents interested in divorce mediation. Call our office today to schedule an appointment, and we can discuss your best options for finalizing your divorce. 

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