When filing for divorce in California or any other state, a spouse must choose a particular course of action as a means toward the end. Some situations involve litigation, especially if a communication breakdown has occurred between spouses or an extenuating circumstance, such as suspected hidden assets, has arisen. For spouses who get along well enough to have civil discussions and negotiate fair settlements, divorce mediation may be possible.
The mediation process is intended to help the parties execute fair settlement agreements without going to court. Each spouse retains his or her own legal representation for mediation meetings. A neutral third party acts a facilitator to keep discussions focused and progressing in a satisfactory and timely manner. For divorcing spouses who are parents, mediation can often help lessen the blow of divorce on children because the kids witness their parents' willingness to get together and talk things out to come up with a fair plan that keeps their own best interests in mind.
The mediator may also provide suggestions or offer information to the spouses to help them achieve a mutually acceptable agreement. California happens to be one of only nine states in the nation that operates under community property laws in divorce. Therefore, such laws would apply to any mediation discussions regarding division of marital property.
Divorce mediation is often favored by those seeking the least expensive pathway to divorce. Spouses may also determine their own schedule for meetings, which can alleviate the need to take time off work to appear in court. In fact, many California residents who have experienced the process say it is less stressful than going to trial.
Source: FindLaw, "Divorce Mediation", Accessed on May 2, 2018