What is Divorce Mediation?
Divorce mediation is a process in which you and your spouse work together with a neutral third party, a mediator, to navigate through your concerns and complete all required legal paperwork involved in a divorce. Throughout your sessions, your mediator will assist in getting your assets evaluated before discussing the division of your assets and debts. They will facilitate each of you in creating separate household budgets. And they will provide various options for time-sharing with the children that can be tested and modified throughout the mediation before agreeing on a long-term parenting plan (the courts refer to this as custody and visitation). Finally, if there is a need for child or spousal support, your mediator will assist in coming to an amount that will work for both parties. Your mediator will guide conversations to prevent conflict, and will ensure that you and your spouse are fully informed every step of the way. Everything you do or say in mediation in California is 100% confidential and cannot be shared without both parties' express written permission.
As part of your divorce mediation process, your mediator will file all of the legal documents that are required by the courts. This includes a comprehensive Marital Settlement Agreement (MSA), which becomes your final divorce judgment (ie., decree). This document is fully enforceable by law, but you will never have to set foot inside a courtroom. Everything needed from start to finish can be done through our office.
Unlike litigation, which is designed to put spouses at odds with each other, mediation can actually help reduce the conflict and stress surrounding your divorce for everyone involved. A mediator is trained to help couples minimize conflict and construct mutually favorable solutions. And if you have children, mediation can be far more beneficial than litigation in easing through this big transition in the family, as it involves creating a parenting plan with input from both parents, keeping the child's best interests at the forefront of every decision, and establishing a positive co-parenting relationship moving forward.
The Lower Cost
Many couples choose mediation because it is a much more affordable option when it comes to divorce. Mediation is a fraction of the cost of litigation. If you and your spouse choose to hire attorneys and conduct your divorce through litigation, you will be forced to communicate only through expensive hourly-rate attorneys instead of speaking directly to each other. This leads to misunderstandings, frustrations, and very high legal bills. We offer flat-rate mediation packages which average a fraction of the cost of litigation.
Generally speaking, the goal of litigation is for either of the parties to "win in battle." In contrast, the goal of divorce mediation is to create a final agreement that encourages cooperation and respect between both parties. If you are seeking a more compassionate, less stressful, affordable path to divorce, mediation is right for you.