There is more than one way to get divorced in California. There are numerous options and several of them do not even involve going to court. Divorce mediation and arbitration are two such options, though they are not for everyone.
The first logical step to take in determining if one of these options is viable is to learn about each process and how they differ from one another. In both cases, mediation and arbitration are designed as alternatives to formal litigation in family court. They work best for those who are able to amicably resolve their differences.
When a couple chooses to mediate a divorce, they choose a neutral third party to facilitate (or mediate) their discussion sessions. Spouses agree to peacefully resolve all issues pertaining to their settlement, such as child custody, property division and more. If they are unable to achieve an agreement, they are free to litigate unresolved issues.
Arbitration more closely resembles a court process in that there are hearings. Each spouse is represented by his or her own attorney. Each spouse may also enlist aid from witnesses and third party testimony, as needed. The arbitrator oversees the hearings and makes decisions to finalize the divorce.
Many California spouses choose of of these divorce options to save time and money. Spouses often say divorce mediation is a lot less stressful than going to court. It can also be a healthy precursor to co-parenting if parents have the opportunity to work together as a team to resolve any child-related problems that arise.