When a California couple decides to divorce, they typically have numerous issues to resolve before the proceedings are finalized. While some spouses have contentious relationships from the start, and wind up gridlocked in lengthy court battles, this does not always have to be the case. In fact, many spouses desire to end their marriage amicably, which means divorce mediation may be a viable alternative for them.
The most common issues to resolve in a divorce are child custody, child support, property division and spousal maintenance. Finances are a central concern, with an eye toward keeping divorce-related fees as low as possible. Mediation is often a good choice in such cases because it tends to be a less expensive means to settle a divorce.
Successful mediation hinges on peaceful negotiation. Before sessions begin, both spouses must agree to avoid confrontation and to commit themselves to trying to settle the issues without litigation. A study conducted in Belgium some time ago concluded that the couples who agreed to resolve their differences through mediation were ultimately more satisfied with their settlements than those who litigated their divorce.
Either in California or elsewhere, if spouses can barely be in the same room without arguing, divorce mediation is unlikely to work. While it is possible to convert to litigation if mediation falls short, it is always best to think ahead and carefully choose one’s options according to a couple’s ability to peacefully discuss important issues and work together to compromise. A family law attorney can explain mediation and other alternative dispute resolution options, and can also help a concerned spouse prepare for litigation, if necessary.