Divorce mediation in California is a cost-effective alternative to litigating family law issues in court. Luckily, Family Court Services helps divorcing 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, divorce mediation to resolve custody and visitation issues can be obtained free of charge. Read on to learn more about the benefits of divorce mediation and how A People’s Choice can help with the process.
Divorce Mediation in California: The Process
Common issues discussed during family law mediation include:
- Child custody, visitation, and support;
- Spousal support and Smith/Ostler payments;
- Division of marital property;
- Assignment of assets and debts;
- Taxes; and
- Retirement account division
Before mediation, each spouse will have a chance to speak with the mediator. During this conversation, the mediator will ask a series of questions to discover general information about each spouse and any issues they seek to resolve.
Then, during the first mediation session, the mediator will explain their role in helping each spouse reach a resolution. Furthermore, the mediator may have the couple in the same room during the entire mediation session or keep them in separate conference rooms. Depending on the nature of the issues, subsequent mediation sessions may be required. Note that child custody mediation is conducted along the same lines but is restricted to dealing only with issues about children.
Ultimately, the mediator will try to help the couple negotiate an agreement. Then, after resolving all the issues at hand, the mediator may draft a settlement agreement. More often, however, the mediator will refer the parties to a registered legal document assistant to draft the agreement to attach to the divorce judgment or other order.
When to Consider Divorce Mediation
If you seek to avoid litigating marital issues in court, mediation may be a good option for you. Mediating child custody and other divorce issues is often a low-cost and fast method of resolving these issues and getting divorced. Plus, mediation allows each spouse to control the outcome of the legal process.
However, mediation may not be a good option when one of the parties has suffered from domestic violence or the parties cannot calmly discuss compromise. Furthermore, both parties should be flexible and mentally stable before attending a mediation session. Open-mindedness can help the couple reach a resolution in a reasonable amount of time. Keep in mind, mediation is neither adversarial nor argumentative. Both spouses must cooperate and collaborate to reach a resolution.
Divorce Mediation Costs
Divorce mediation in California is less costly than adversarial litigation and sometimes it can actually be free! 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 divorce mediator. A divorce mediator in private practice may charge anywhere from $100 to $350 per hour depending on where their office is located. Some mediators charge a flat fee for each session. The number of sessions needed to negotiate an agreement will depend on several factors, but a typical divorce mediation session lasts between three and four hours.
Contact A People’s Choice for more information about how to schedule and prepare for divorce mediation.