Many people are interested in potentially mediating their divorce dispute but want a bit more information about the process. This post will hopefully answer some lingering questions and give you more information to determine if mediation is right for you.
We tend to hear the term “mediation” and think that it encompasses a single technique for dispute resolution. That actually isn’t the case, though. There are several different types of mediation that might work for a particular case.
We discussed in a previous post how some demographics – Generation X and Millennials – are bucking the trend of divorce and staying married.
It can be extremely hard to find common ground with someone who has different ideas of what is right and wrong. It can be even more challenging to settle disputes when the parties to the dispute have deeply rooted and personal conflicts. These types of interpersonal challenges can exist when California couples choose to end their marriages in divorce, and for this reason, some divorces are more confrontational than others.
Marriages can become difficult when conflict overtakes the good and positive elements of the marital relationship. Sometimes those conflicts may surround changes that the partners have experienced in their personal lives, and sometimes the conflicts involve true disagreements and insurmountable differences that have become more apparent over time. Getting to the decision to file for divorce can occur simultaneously for partners, but more often happens for one partner before the other.
It may sound crazy, but not every person who plans to divorce their spouse hates or despises their soon-to-be ex. In fact, in California and jurisdictions throughout the country, many divorces involve individuals who simply have grown apart from their partners but who wish them no ill will. For people who only want to end their relationships and are able to do so on good terms with their partners, a litigated divorce may not be the best option.
While it is not uncommon for divorcing spouses to become adversarial, it can be considerably more productive - and much less emotionally draining - when spouses remain amicable throughout the divorce process. In California, one way to help encourage amicability is by working together with a neutral, third party known as a mediator. Mediation can help resolve any issues, such as maintenance, or child custody and support matters, that the spouses have not yet agreed upon.
When a California marriage has come to its end, there is no doubt that the parties to it have spent more time fighting than they ever thought possible. By the time they decide that divorce is their only option they may want to seek out a means of achieving marital dissolution without having to argue about every detail of their post-divorce lives. This can mean avoiding court all together and using divorce mediation as the means of bringing their legal relationship to its end.
Are all divorces the same? Readers of this California family law blog may know that the answer to this question is complicated. While all divorces that reach their end successfully sever the legal bonds that hold two people together in marriage, not all divorces follow the same paths to finality. The unique characteristics of the divorcing parties and the issues that they prioritize as important can cause their divorce proceedings to take on varying and diverse forms.
When parties agree to participate in the mediation process, as an alternative to the litigation process, they are not giving up their right to legal representation and/or support. Some of the objectives of mediation are to hear the concerns of each of the parties and reach a resolution that addresses those concerns. The mediator has no authority to resolve issues. The skilled mediator uses a process that is designed to assist the parties in reaching their own agreement.