Do You Have To Go To Court During Divorce Mediation?

By Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediators; California Divorce MediationBy the looks of it, divorce mediation seems to be the perfect way to settle a divorce, and for the most part and in most cases, it actually is. There are, however a number of questions that you may have about mediation and in this article, we try to cover a few of those related to courts and its role in a mediation.

Will the mediation sessions be held in court? 

Private mediation sessions are generally only held in the mediator’s office, not the court.  The court can also have resource centers,  dispute resolution centers or other such places where mediation can be held.

Do you need a lawyer of your own? 

No, in fact, there will be no one to present your case but yourself. You are encouraged to speak and put forward arguments in a civil manner as to why you expect what from this settlements. The mediator will only take both sides of the case and help you come to your own conclusion. While lawyers are not necessary, they are allowed to help you in taking decisions. The final word comes only from you.

Does this mean mediation is a substitute for legal advice?

No, it is not. In fact, if you need legal advice or if you have doubts that you need clarification on, it is your duty to stop the proceedings and get it clarified. It can be done by the mediator, but if it is beyond the purview of the mediator, an expert has to be brought in and all legal matters cleared up. It is better to delay the sessions by a few days than regretting it for the rest of your life.

What happens if you want to go to trial?

Mediation is designed to work in most cases, but if it doesn’t you do not loose out on the opportunity to go to trial. Litigation is still possible, but it may completely rework or undo all that mediation has built up. At times, that may work out for you, at times, it may not. Nothing is absolute in a courtroom.

In what cases will mediation not a good idea? 

Mediation works in most cases except where there are incidents of domestic violence.

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