You have probably heard dozens of horror stories about divorce. Friends may have spent months arguing over custody and property division, perhaps even battling in court. Your divorce does not need to be like that.
You can avoid the acrimony and the courtroom. You may be able to solve even the most contentious issues with alternative dispute resolution methods. Choosing divorce mediation over litigation has several advantages.
Protracted court battles are often a negative experience for everyone involved. Even a quick hearing requires you to be at the mercy of the court calendar. In contrast, mediation can set you on a fast track to results, achieving areas of agreement in the first session. Many couples require multiple sessions, with two or three weeks between sessions. However, that is still much quicker than waiting for a court date.
Saving time means saving money. With mediation, there is no need to pay for multiple attorneys to go back and forth with requests and counterarguments. Mediation may also eliminate various court fees.
In California, most court proceedings become public record, available to anyone who requests access. If your divorce ends up in court, the information revealed during the hearings or trial may be part of that record. You can request a sealing of your records, but a judge may refuse to grant the request. Mediation allows you to keep your information private.
In formal litigation, the final decision is in the hands of a judge. In mediation, you and your spouse make all the choices. The mediator is a neutral third party who can provide information, but the parties themselves are in control. Compromise is a necessary part of the process, so you may not end up with everything you want. Still, you will likely find it empowering to be in charge of the final outcome.
Mediation often lays the groundwork for better, more cooperative interactions going forward. You may learn how to collaborate and communicate better. This can help you navigate future disputes, which is especially important if you will be parenting together for years to come.