What do the California Courts say about choosing divorce mediation? On their website is a page giving answers to basic questions about divorce and separation. One of the FAQs is: “Where can I find information about the emotional impact of a contested divorce case?” The answer given is:
“Separation or divorce is a legal process, but it is also a difficult emotional process. You and your family will surely feel the impact of the legal processes and the emotional issues. Here are some suggestions: If you and your spouse or domestic partner cannot agree about parenting responsibilities or money issues, get help from a mediator or mental health professional…”
Decisions are necessary for your divorce. Ideally the decisions are agreements you reach. If you can’t reach agreement, you can elect to have decisions imposed upon you.
Below are the main decision-making approaches available to you for your divorce. The choice at the top gives you the most control and the least cost. The choice at the bottom gives you the least control and the most cost.
- Work out the agreements on your own
- Divorce mediation
- Collaborative Law / Divorce
- Attorney negotiation
- Trial before a judge without attorney representation
- Arbitration / hire a private judge
- Trial before a judge with attorney representation
On my website I provide further information about these. Most divorcing couples want a high degree of control and low cost. Therefore the vast majority are either choosing divorce mediation or working out their agreements on their own. Many also enlist the support of one or more mental health professionals.
Choosing Divorce Mediation
Someday when mediation is better known and understood by the general public, nearly all couples who want outside assistance with the decisions in their divorce will be choosing divorce mediation. As it is, the numbers choosing divorce mediation are steadily increasing. More and more family lawyers would rather be mediating divorces than litigating them.
Some couples can’t agree on the decisions needed for their divorce on their own and can’t agree to mediate. And for a small percentage of couples, mediation would not be appropriate. In general, these are couples in which there is abuse, a lack of honesty or other very serious problems. Sometimes litigation and an eventual trial is the only route one or both spouses will consider. However only a tiny percentage (roughly 2%) of all divorce cases go to trial.
The rest find some way to reach agreement on the necessary decisions. It’s never too late to try divorce mediation, even if you are currently litigating and a trial date has been set. The potential benefits of divorce mediation are numerous and compelling.