What is Divorce Mediation in California?

Divorce mediation in California


In mediation, you and your spouse work with a mediator to complete your divorce. The divorce mediation lawyer (mediator) is a neutral party who does not represent you or give you advice but acts as a guide. Each mediator has their own style, providing a different degree of guidance and structure. A mediator may be a divorce attorney, referred to as an attorney-mediator; but, it’s not required. Non-attorney mediators are more limited in what they can do for you but cost less. Attorney-mediators can do more. They explain the impact the law may have in your case, suggest options, run support calculations, and prepare and file your final agreement with the court.


Our first factor time. Mediation typically takes 3-6 months to reach a final agreement. On average, you meet with your mediator for 3-5 sessions, with each session lasting two to three hours. You can manage your time by going to sessions prepared and ready to make an agreement. Mediation is very efficient because you are only working with one professional, and only need to schedule time between you, your spouse and the mediator.


Second, cost. Mediators either charge per hour or offer flat fee services. The costs are directly related to the services you receive. If you are charged for costs outside of the session, you’ll see the work the mediator did for your case, like a summary letter, prepared agreement, or completed court forms. The more complicated a case, the more it will cost because the mediator needs to spend more time with you to reach an agreement


Third, control. In mediation, you and your spouse are in control, not the judge, lawyer, or even the mediator. You want to find a mediator that empowers you to make educated and informed decisions on how to resolve your case. Since you are in control, you also have the flexibility to try different options. For example, you can start with a custody timeshare for a few months. If it doesn’t work, you simply go back to mediation to try another timeshare. If you and your spouse cannot agree, you can bring in other professionals like attorneys, a financial expert or therapist, to help you resolve the impasse.

Difficulty level:

Compared to all the other processes, mediation is the easiest. It is about you and your spouse, not court deadlines, procedures, long waits and discovery. You also get professional help. The mediator guides you from start to finish. Instead of being in an uninviting and stressful courtroom, you’ll be in the mediator’s office. Scheduling should be easy; no limited court times or large teams to schedule. But mediation also has its difficulties. It requires both you and your spouse to commit to the process, be reasonable, and cooperate with one another. If you do not, mediation will not work. If it fails, then you have to leave mediation and use another process, most likely litigation.

If you remain reasonable and committed to the mediation process, you can arrive at a negotiated agreement that is fine-tuned for your case. It can even work if you have a complicated case or complicated relationship with your spouse by including protections, like consulting attorneys and therapists. Check out Families First Mediation, https://ffmediation.com, for more information, on our sister program.

At TheCompleteDivorce:

At The Complete Divorce, we provide you with what you need to successfully do your California divorce on your own. We provide all the required family law court forms in our automated forms program, all the video tutorials, and an automated customizable Marital Settlement Agreement (Divorce Agreement). If you need more help, you can get our package which includes time with a divorce mediator.

Before you go, consider if we can help you. We have helped thousands of couples in California. Our guided DIY divorce is successful and cheap! Our services are all 5-star!