Family Law Mediation
Mediation is an ideal way to handle most family law cases in California. In mediation, the parties (sometimes with their attorneys, but most of the time by themselves) and a mediator, work out agreements on the issues in the divorce or separation. Some agreements can be reached quickly, but other times it takes multiple mediator sessions to settle the case entirely.
The mediator should be an experienced family law attorney whose role is to assist in the decision making. When the mediator is a experienced family law attorney, they can help the couple understand what the “legal“ result would likely be if the issue were presented to the court in litigation.
There are a multitude of benefits to using mediation.
Mediation will help you save time and money compared to traditional litigation and other adversarial processes.
Resolutions can be achieved within hours or weeks rather than months or years.
There are far fewer expenses in mediation than in litigation and most of them can be shared. There is a significant difference between paying for two attorneys to litigate versus one mediator, whose fees can be split equally.
Mediation often reduces the hostility, tension and misunderstandings that occur when people are in conflict with one another.
The majority of people who mediate rather than go to court are highly satisfied with the process as well as the outcomes.
Mediated agreements have a higher rate of compliance than litigated settlements in court orders.
Please see our “Mediation Benefits” page for a complete outline of the reasons why mediation is preferred over litigation.
Mediation vs. Litigation
You may be surprised to know that most California divorce cases (over 90%) are settled before they ever reach a trial. Often, the question is not whether your case will settle but rather how much time and money it will take to get to settlement.
Reaching a settlement in litigation often takes years and hundreds of thousands of dollars in combined legal fees— mediation reduces these costs to a fraction of the cost of traditional litigation.
Mediation Before Litigation
Mediation is commonly encouraged by members of the California family law community because it is cost efficient and effective— so why not start with a process which is proven to work as well, if not better than litigation?
Even if mediation fails, each party has a significant “head start” in the litigation process since the paperwork that is completed in mediation is nearly identical to the paperwork a family law attorney will ask their client to fill out to prepare for litigation.