Divorcing couples in California may benefit from learning more about the considerations involved in the mediation process. Mediation can either be entered based on parties’ mutual agreement or by a court order. Both parties will be issued a notice if the courts are requiring mediation. If there is a justifiable reason, such as domestic violence, either party may be entitled to object to the mediation. When the judge orders the mediation, a mediator may be appointed or the parties may choose one certified by the court.
Non-lawyers and lawyers may qualify to serve as competent mediators. Fees vary, based on an hourly rate, half-day or an entire day’s work. Mediation is intended to provide both parties with an opportunity to discuss and resolve their differences. The process is not designed to determine if either party is right or wrong in the dispute but to find a solution agreeable to both parties. Parties entering mediation are advised to choose someone who possesses knowledge of family law, experience and the appropriate training.
The details of any mediation are typically confidential unless both parties provide consent for disclosure. The written settlement reached at the end of the process is synonymous to any written contract formed between two parties. The primary goal of the mediation process is to minimize conflict after dissolution while avoiding the effort and expenses associated with litigation.
People interested or ordered into entering the mediation process may benefit from contacting a lawyer before making any final decisions about how to proceed. Lawyers may be able to prepare a client for the process by providing specific answers relevant to their particular situation. Legal counsel may be able help guide the negotiations and review the terms to ensure that the written settlement will be approved by the court.
Source: Findlaw, “Divorce Mediation – Overview“, November 03, 2014