A Mediator’s Role in Divorce Cases

By Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange county divorce mediators; California Divorce MediatorsDivorces are some of the most complex, emotionally troubling battles people have faced for decades now. To ease the process of a divorce, mediators are called in as a form of alternative dispute resolution.

Why divorce mediation?

Mediation is not necessarily a new idea, but it has become a frequently used method, especially in Orange County, while negotiating the terms of a divorce. The mediator facilitates your discussions with your spouse and aids you in amicably reaching an understanding with your spouse on what is best for both of you and your family.

The mediator helps you in resolving issues involved with the distribution of property, child custody and visitation rights, spousal support and child support as well as divorce settlements.

Mediator’s role

Before a mediator agrees to work with you, he or she will need basic information about your family, your marriage and the divorce itself. The mediator will then sit with you, either together with your spouse or individually in separate sessions, where he will take your views, opinions and positions regarding the divorce. Your lawyers are also sometimes allowed to be present during your sessions with the mediator.

After screening the initial information, the mediator will give you his opinion and suggestions on how your spouse and you can work together to reach an agreement. He will then chalk out a plan to help you accomplish it. If your divorce is entangled with property issues and child custody, your mediator will require more information to be able to accurately assess your situation.

When negotiations start, the mediator will start with simpler issues and encourage you to build trust and make compromises on larger issues. The mediator will guide you to staying on track and provide you with different options. He will encourage you to listen to each other, asserting that communication is a key factor in resolving issues. To make the mediation a success, you will have to be more open to compromise and listen to your spouse’s ideas and positions.

While reaching an agreement, the mediator will help create a plan, including a parenting plan, which will later become part of your divorce settlement.

Benefits of a mediator

Mediation is cheaper than a trial in court and most of them have high success rates. They are confidential and your lawyer can be present to offer you legal advice. While at mediation, it is your spouse and you who control the process, not the judge. Finally, the entire process enables you and spouse to improve communication and work together, making it easier for you to resolve future conflicts.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, “What is Divorce Mediation.”