Divorce Mediation vs. Court
By Henry F. Lewis on October 10, 2019
Many divorced couples are able to make things work even when they do not always agree. Disputes are unavoidable, and usually they can be settled with open communication. When communication breaks down, it can be difficult to reach any sort of compromise without court intervention. There is, however, another option to consider. We’re talking about divorce mediation.
Mediation can help with all kinds of issues, from child support and child custody to working out visitation schedules and the details of a move. Oakland, CA family law attorneys Michael A. Gardner and Henry F. Lewis would like to discuss how mediation works and why it may be worth considering.
Mediation is a process in which a disinterested third-party helps facilitate an agreement. In the case of divorce disputes, the mediator meets with the spouses and their legal representatives and tries to develop some sort of reasonable compromise given the circumstances. Each party may be placed in separate rooms in order to minimize conflict and tension and arrive at common ground.
How Mediation Differs from Going to Court
Mediation takes place entirely outside of a court setting. That means there are no judges involved. Instead, mediation tends to take place in a neutral space, such as a meeting room or conference room. While the proceedings are serious, they are not as formal or official as a court date.
The mediator is a go-between to help two opposing sides hear each other out and make a mutually agreeable deal. The mediator doesn’t takes sides and also doesn’t make any rulings. Instead, the mediator simply communicates concerns and offers, and may ask for clarification when certain requests do not seem clear.
The Advantages of Mediation
Before going to court, our Oakland family law attorneys often advise clients to consider mediation for a number of important reasons:
- Takes Less Time Than Court Proceedings - Mediation typically takes less time than a court battle, with disagreements worked out in a week or less rather than a few months.
- More Affordable Than a Court Battle - With fewer court dates and legal fees, mediation is far less expensive than going to court.
- Reduces Stress and Conflict - The most important benefit of mediation is that it keeps the discourse between spouses as non-combative as possible. This eases tensions between spouses and helps keep matters as cordial as possible. Mediation may be particularly important if both spouses are co-parenting their children and hope to prevent personal matters from interfering with parental duties.
When Should You Consider Going to Court
If you have not been able to settle disputes through your lawyers and mediation has proved unsuccessful, that is when you should consider going to court. It’s always a good idea to avoid going to court if possible, however, so consider mediation a smart and viable option if you and your spouse have been otherwise communicative.
With this in mind, mediation may not be a good idea if your spouse is violent, combative, and unwilling to compromise. In such situations, it’s best to go straight to court and be assertive rather than capitulate to your spouse’s demands.
Learn More About Settling Divorce Disputes
For more information about resolving divorce disputes, be sure to contact a skilled family law attorney. The legal team at Gardner & Lewis, LLP can be reached by phone in Oakland at (510) 451-4822.
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“The needs of your family are always at the forefront of our legal services. Whether through litigation or mediation, we believe that reaching a fair, efficient solution with minimal negative impact to your family is of the utmost importance.” Henry F. Lewis