There are often enough emotional ups and downs associated with divorce. The last thing you may want is to spend the next few weeks or months of your life battling with your future former spouse in litigation. You may wonder whether you can keep your divorce out of a courtroom in order to avoid any further drama, expense and stress.
If you and your future ex share that same motivation, you may make use of an alternative method of resolving your issues: divorce mediation. Many other California couples in your position have successfully negotiated a settlement with which they were both satisfied through this method.
What you can achieve through divorce mediation
You may find numerous advantages to mediating your divorce. The most common of these includes the following:
- Costs less than traditional litigation
- Avoids the risks of traditional litigation
- Takes less time than traditional litigation
- Provides a neutral atmosphere for negotiations
- Encourages you to compromise and cooperate to reach a settlement
- Minimizes the potential for controversy after your divorce is final
- Allows you to retain control of the outcome
- Decreases stress and conflict
- Protects your confidentiality
- Protects your children from the intense conflict and emotions of traditional litigation
- Teaches conflict resolution for future communications
- Eliminates the concepts of “right or wrong” and “winning or losing”
In addition, most couples who negotiate their own settlement through divorce mediation tend to adhere to their agreements since they created them. Each of you receives the opportunity to speak and to come up with possible resolutions that may be “outside the box.” The law limits what judges can do, and those limitations may set your family up for failure in the future.
Going through the process
Your mediator may arrange a preliminary meeting in order to set forth the expectations for the process. If you believe you may need third parties such as appraisers or financial advisors to provide additional information for you, this is the time to speak up. The mediator may ask you to gather and exchange information needed in order to negotiate in good faith.
Before your first negotiation session, you may want to obtain an understanding of your rights and determine what you expect from your final settlement. Going into the process with an idea of what you will need for the future provides you with a starting point. The mediator does not take sides. He or she will simply explain the legal ramifications of the provisions you intend to include in your agreement.
If you reach a stalemate or a point of contention, the mediator can advise you regarding how the court would handle the situation. This may be enough to get you back to figuring out what would work best for your family. Once you reach an agreement, the mediator will document it, review it and file it with the court for approval.