When you file for divorce in California, going to trial doesn’t have to be the first step. You could attempt to negotiate your divorce out of court through the process of mediation. Mediation has helped thousands of people quickly resolve their divorce issues, but it doesn’t work in every situation.
If mediation doesn’t work, what’s next?
In particular, family law mediation can help you resolve child custody issues. However, if you and your former spouse can’t come to an agreement, you might have to go to court after all. Under those circumstances, you’ll probably wish to retain your own family law attorney.
When mediation fails, the judge might evaluate you and your former spouse to figure out who would be the better parent. They might even call in a psychologist to help them make their decision. If the judge thinks that you and your former spouse are equally prepared to raise a child, they might award joint custody. Otherwise, if they believe one parent can provide a much more stable home than the other, they might give that parent full custody.
If mediation doesn’t work, the judge will make the final decision on your child custody case. You can try to influence this decision, but you won’t have the same level of control that successful mediation would have provided. For this reason, it’s best to resolve your issues through mediation if at all possible.
Who can act as a mediator?
If you want to try divorce mediation, you’ll have to find a third-party individual who can act as the mediator. This person could objectively review your case and guide you and your former spouse in the right direction without forcing you to make one choice or another. While the state of California has no training requirements for this role, most professionals who perform it do receive specific education. Many people hire an attorney to act as their divorce mediator.