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What happens during a divorce mediation?

Divorce is not the only option for California couples who are separating. Mediation can be an efficient and effective alternative to get you moving forward with your life.

As FindLaw describes, mediation is more flexible than a traditional courtroom divorce. This means that not every mediation will be exactly alike. Most divorce mediations consist of several one- to two-hour sessions with your spouse and the mediator. Both parties have a say in choosing the mediator. The mediator may or may not be an attorney.

Your mediator will not decide your case or offer legal advice to either party. While an attorney mediator may explain the way that a court would likely decide a certain issue, a mediator's true purpose is to facilitate an agreement between you and your spouse. While that may entail suggesting potential solutions, the mediator cannot force either party to accept an agreement.

The mediation sessions will begin with the mediator allowing each party to lay out the issues. Subsequent sessions will address the issues one by one. Each party can present evidence to provide a factual basis for their spousal or child support claims. Remember, though, that the mediator will not decide any issues of fact or law.

Neither you nor your spouse need be represented by an attorney during a mediation, but either of you can choose to retain an attorney during the process. The mediator will guide your negotiations on each issue, refocusing the conversation if it becomes heated, and allowing each of you an equal footing at the negotiation table.

When you reach an agreement with your spouse, the mediator will help you formalize it into a contract signed by both you and your spouse, which is entered into the court record for your dissolution and is legally enforceable. Even if you are unable to come to an agreement on every issue, those issues that you and your spouse do resolve can be formalized and simplify the divorce litigation process that follows.

This post is intended to provide general information and should not replace the advice of an attorney.

 

 

 

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