Divorce mediation in California is a cost-effective alternative to litigating family issues in divorce law. Luckily, family court services help divorced spouses resolve pending legal issues. Visit family court services mediation programs for more information about reasonably priced mediation services for divorcing and separating couples.

In some situations, if you seek divorce mediation to resolve custody and visitation issues, you can get it free of charge. This happens without seeking any other settlement option or legal advice. Read on to learn more about the benefits of divorce mediation in California. You’ll also learn how A People’s Choice can help with the mediation process without filing any divorce papers.

What Is Divorce Mediation?

Mediation is one of the most common methods of negotiating divorce settlements during the divorce process. More specifically, a successful mediation allows both spouses to discuss unresolved issues and reach an agreement for a legal separation just like with traditional divorce.

In contrast to a divorce decree, skilled mediators do not make any decisions for married couples during court-ordered mediation. Instead, the mediator has the main goal of steering the discussion towards a resolution that both parties will accept without necessarily applying any legal rules. The divorce matter is therefore addressed through a mutual consensus.

Benefits of Divorce Mediation

Using family law mediation to resolve divorce disputes during a divorce settlement comes with several benefits. As one example of an approach to divorce, divorce mediation in California costs less than litigating disputed issues in court (divorce litigation).

In addition, agreement through mediation happens in a confidential manner just like with a collaborative divorce process. The mediator who may be a divorce attorney may also provide legal advice about any other divorce alternatives. Therefore, spouses can discuss sensitive aspects of divorce without worrying about their personal information or financial assets becoming a public record.

Also, both parties can effectively manage the divorce mediation costs. You should consider approaching a neutral divorce mediator if you need assistance with a divorce mediation service. With an experienced divorce mediator, you’re sure to handle issues such as:

  • Child parenting plans
  • Questions about divorce mediation
  • Divorce settlement agreement
  • Preventing future conflicts
  • Developing policy terms for your amicable divorce, and
  • Equitable distribution of property after divorce
“I filed a custody and visitation Motion and my husband and I were able to settle our custody and visitation disagreement using the free divorce mediation set up through the court by A People’s Choice.” K. Bence
“Even though my spouse had an attorney, his attorney was not allowed to say anything in the mediation process. It was so easy and the Judge simply approved what the mediator recommended.” K. Bence

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Divorce Mediation in California: The Process

Common issues discussed during family law mediation include:

  • Child custody issues, visitation, and support for a minor child;
  • Spousal support and smith/ostler payments;
  • Division of marital property (property division);
  • Assignment of marital assets and debts during the process of mediation;
  • Taxes; and
  • Retirement account division

During either a collaborative or uncontested divorce, each spouse will have a chance to speak with a neutral mediator that has extensive experience in divorce mediation. During this conversation, the qualified mediator will ask a series of questions.

This helps them to discover general information about each spouse and any issues in dispute they need to resolve before the entire process finishes. Many people have proven the effectiveness of divorce mediation to handle the adversarial divorce process.

What Happens During the Mediation Sessions?

During the first mediation session, qualified divorce mediators (alternative to divorce lawyers) will explain their role. This entails explaining that they want to help each spouse resolve the complexities of divorce through average, pre-decree divorce mediation. Furthermore, the marriage counselor may have the couple in the same room during the entire mediation session or keep them in separate conference rooms.

All this depends on how the divorce mediator psychologist chooses to approach the formal process of divorce mediation. Based on the nature of emotional issues or financial issues, you may need subsequent mediation sessions before reaching an agreement at mediation. Note that child custody mediation also follows similar procedures. However, it’s restricted to dealing with parenting plan issues such as:

  • Child custody arrangements
  • Child custody disputes
  • Child custody schedule, and
  • Child protective services

Ultimately, the mediator will try to help the couple in arriving at a partial agreement or voluntary agreement without any emotional costs due to the anger of divorce. After resolving all the issues of divorce through divorce mediation, the mediator may draft a settlement agreement at mediation. Divorce mediators are a good alternative to some aggressive divorce lawyers during -fault divorce or no-fault divorce.

Myths about Mediation in Divorce

divorce mediation

When researching mediation in divorce, don’t believe everything your friends tell you or what you find on the internet! There are many myths about divorce mediation circling throughout the web. Below are 5 common myths about California mediation in divorce.

Mediation Myth 1: Men Fare Better than Women Using Mediation in Divorce

This is not true. Under some circumstances, women can find themselves at a disadvantage during the divorce process if they were not involved in handling marital finances. It is not uncommon for wives to financially depend on their husbands and not handle nor have any in-depth knowledge of the financial matters during their marriage. Some women in this situation may likely settle on the division of assets because they are unaware of hidden assets.

Fortunately, there are several legal tools women can use (and men) to discover hidden assets. A spouse can subpoena bank accounts to review cash flow and discover unknown income. Once discovery is completed, both spouses can attend mediation in divorce to reach an agreement on how marital assets will be divided. Hire a mediator that will not side with either party regardless of gender or sexual orientation (LGBT couples). This will help make sure there is fairness and equality in settling outstanding issues.

Mediation Myth 2: In Mediation, One Spouse Can Intimidate the Other

FALSE! During mediation in divorce, both spouses are given a fair advantage to present their viewpoints. An experienced mediator knows how to keep a balanced discussion between divorcing spouses. A balanced approach allows both parties to equally address their concerns. One of the biggest advantages of divorce mediation is that the two people learn how to communicate post-divorce. Mediation in divorce is not about one person having an advantage over the other. Rather, both spouses should have an equal say and be able to discuss their concerns. Have confidence that your mediator will keep things fair and neutral.

Mediation Myth 3: Mediation is Only for Couples That Want to Get Back Together

Mediation in divorce is not counseling. Divorce mediation is used to strengthen and facilitate communication between spouses to help settle divorce issues. The reconciliation of the marriage should not be discussed during mediation. Unresolved divorce issues will be the topic at hand.

Mediation Myth 4: Mediation in Divorce is Impossible if Spouses Aren’t Speaking to One Another

It is a fact that most couples going through a divorce do not communicate well with one another. For this reason, mediators are trained in alternative dispute resolution and are knowledgeable in working with hostile couples. Keep in mind, you and your spouse must communicate with one another for mediation in divorce to work.

Mediation Myth 5: Complex Divorces Must Be Resolved in Court

Any divorce that can be heard in court can be mediated. Not all complex divorces have to end up in court. Even the most complicated financial issues can be worked out with a mediator.

Divorce Mediation Costs

Complete divorce mediator services in California cost less than adversarial litigation and sometimes you may not cater for any costs! For example, the court typically provides free divorce mediation to resolve issues of child custody, visitation, and support when one of the parties files a motion.

On the other hand, for more comprehensive mediation, the parties can hire a private mediator as an alternative to litigation and reduce the cost of divorce. A divorce mediator in private practice may charge anywhere from $100 to $350 per hour depending on the location of the office.

Some divorce mediators charge a flat fee for each session of the discussion of divorce. The number of sessions needed to negotiate an agreement for proper divorce decisions will depend on several factors, but a typical divorce mediation session lasts between three and four hours.

Do You Need Help with Scheduling a Divorce Mediation?

If you’ve made up your mind that divorce mediation is the way to go, you can seek the services of a legal document assistant to understand how it’s done. At A People’s Choice, we will provide you with essential information concerning every paperwork that relates to divorce mediation. To get started, just contact us here or call us directly at 800-747-2780.


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