The thought of facing a judge or being in a courtroom may be intimidating for some persons. When seeking a divorce, you may decide that litigation in the courtroom is not the right choice for you due to the time and expense required to appear before the judge. Another option available to the parties, as part of the dissolution litigation, is to resolve issues privately and confidentially in mediation.

The Superior Court offers the opportunity for the parties to engage in this form of “alternative dispute resolution” or “ADR” and requires that parties attend mediation at the office of Family Court Services as part of resolving the custody and visitation about the minor child(ren). Family Court Services may have a different name in your county and may not be confidential. Private mediation is, also, available with experienced professionals. Many people learn that mediation contributes to a more peaceful, efficient and amicable and, possibly, less costly process to resolve the issues and disputes while in the divorce process.

The goal of the mediator is to work with the couple to develop a compromise that benefits both parties. The meeting occurs in an office setting, not in the courtroom. A mediator helps the parties to settle their disputes, whether all issues or only some issues, which contributes to the parties determining the best plan for their futures. This less formal approach to resolving disputes appeals to many individuals.

Unlike a judge or arbitrator, a mediator does not make final decisions about the parties’ divorce. A mediator may meet with each party separately and learn what each party wants to gain and needs to obtain from mediation and the parties engage in a discussion so that they jointly make the final decision(s).

An important benefit of mediation is the effect on your minor children, who are affected by every decision the parents make, and whose is always a top priority for the Court. Mediation can relieve the stress for both parents, which relief contributes to making the process more tolerable for the children, as well. When the parties equalize their knowledge about the parties’ finances, custody, visitation, property, assets and liabilities, then each party will be prepared better for the future to control their own assets and liabilities apart from the other party.

If you think mediation is the right choice for you, contact an experienced California divorce attorney to learn more.