The Difference Between Mandatory And Private Divorce Mediation

By Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce mediation attorneys Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsMediation is a process where an experienced and trained individual, in most cases a lawyer, tries to pacify things between couples so that they can avoid a divorce. Divorce mediations are usually of two types – mandatory and private. Mandatory divorce mediation is ordered by the court and is a part of the divorce proceeding. It usually arises when there are major disagreements on issues like custody and visitation. Private mediations are conducted by experienced divorce mediators and lawyers who do not work under the guidance of a court.

Mandatory mediation

Mandatory mediations are court ordered and are provided for couples who choose to go through the court system. Before their case can be heard, the court orders a mandatory mediation. It is usually done when there are children involved. California courts are strict about child custody and visitation and therefore give the couples a chance to reconsider their decision. One major flaw with court-mediations is that they are fast and do not stress much on details. They tend to miss out on the smaller and more important issues due to time constraints.

Private mediation

Private mediations are more flexible and offers couples ample amount of time to talk things over. It deals with more complex matters and allows couple to think things over before they finally proceed with their divorce. Divorce mediators are often skilled at their job and ask questions that identify key areas of problem. Private mediators provide custom solutions that work best for the family. They work within the constraints of court laws use their own methods to deal with the situation.

The major difference between private and mandatory mediation is that private mediation allows couples the freedom to choose their own time and space. Mandatory mediation may work in cases where the couples are reluctant to sit for a mediation. Private mediation keeps things less stressful and provides solution based on the need.


Private mediation and mandatory mediation differ on a variety of different levels and both have their uses. While mandatory mediation is court ordered, and must be attended by couples, private mediation depends on the couples. They choose the time, place and the mediator too. It gives them the freedom to spend as much time as they want with the divorce mediator. Mandatory mediation works well for some but most couples prefer private mediation due to its advantages.

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