The mediation process is a great way to settle a divorce case. This process between the two spouses also involves a mediator and sometimes their respective lawyers. It can be either official or unofficial, depending on what you desire or the court’s involvement. The mediator’s role is to help reach a compromise and communicate with both spouses. It is the role of the court to make court orders or rule on your divorce.

Both spouses have complete influence over the final agreement with an independent mediator. They may agree on the activities to do and that the issue will be closed after they are accomplished. The stress and strain that may be associated with starting over will be easier and faster for both couples.

Whether divorce mediation works or fails, what occurs next will be decided by this. No matter what the result, there’s still work to do.

The Divorce Mediation Process

The mediation process is speedier and more cost-effective than traditional judicial processes. It must work if you and your spouse can reach an agreement on the conditions of the divorce. To succeed, you must agree to share decisions regarding property distribution, child custody, and spousal support.

You will need to go to court to receive a divorce decree. If mediation is feasible, you and your spouse will submit the choices jointly to a court for approval.

Get an Independent Counsel

A mediator in a divorce cannot provide legal advice. It is strongly recommended that each party have their own independent counsel to review the agreements and get their legal opinions before signing. 

Your lawyer should be able to advise you about whether the settlement agreement for divorce is in your best interest. You may consult another lawyer if you doubt how your original lawyer is bringing the mediation to a successful conclusion. You can also do it if it appears that your attorney is trying to undermine your settlement and all of your hard work to bring your case before trial.

Draft Written Agreement

After you have reached an agreement through mediation, the mediator and your lawyer can help you draft a written settlement agreement with your spouse. This agreement will include all of the decisions that you and your spouse have made together.

Review and Agree on the Draft

You and your spouse will both have the chance to review the divorce settlement agreement and understand what each section of the agreement means. For later use, you must have official documentation of the agreement that is legally binding. 

File the Agreement With The Court

You will then both have to submit the agreement to your county court. A judge will review your agreement to ensure it is in line with state laws. If you have children, the judge will also consider their best interests.

 

A judge may order you to appear in court if there is a problem, such as a property division that seems unfair or a custody agreement that doesn’t seem to be in the best interest of your children. The judge may ask you to correct a minor error.

Wait for the Court Order

If a judge accepts the mediation paperwork, he will process the divorce and issue a judgment. A judgment will dissolve your marriage and put the terms of your divorce into motion. You or your spouse can petition the courts to change the terms. 

 

After the judge has processed your divorce settlement agreement, they will issue an order to dissolve your marriage according to the terms that you have submitted. Once the judge has approved the paperwork and the court has processed it, the divorce proceedings will be finalized.

 

However, in most cases, the judge will accept a mediation agreement and include it in the final “judgment on dissolution of marriage.” The mediation agreement is a binding contract, which means you have a legal obligation to perform the actions you have agreed to.

What Happens If Divorce Mediation Fails?

Although you are required by California law to take part in mediation regarding custody and visitation issues, there is no obligation that you reach an agreement. Depending on the county, you might need to take additional steps if you fail court-ordered custody mediation.

 

A judge might order that you participate in another mediation session with a different mediator in counties with confidential court-related mediation. If you don’t reach an agreement, however, the new mediator may recommend the court.

 

Suppose court-connected mediators had been allowed to report to the courts in their counties to enable them to do so after unsuccessful mediation. In that case, the mediator might recommend that the judge appoint an evaluation or other service to resolve your differences before going to court.

 

Suppose you choose private mediation for custody issues in some counties but don’t reach an agreement. In that case, you may need to reschedule your appointment with a court-connected mediator and try again.

 

If the mediation, whether private or court-connected, is unsuccessful or only partially successful and leads to agreement on some issues but not others, a judge will conduct a hearing. The judge must decide on all the remaining problems unless you and your spouse can resolve those issues before the hearing. (Cal. Fam. Code 3183, 3188 (2021)

Is Divorce Mediation Right for You?

The mediation process is not tricky just because you are facing a high net-worth divorce. Your wealth and other income sources could make mediation easier. Mediation may be the best option to provide for all your family’s needs, especially if you have children. Mediation can help you reach a low-conflict resolution to even the most challenging issues. It also allows you to maintain a positive relationship with your spouse.

 

The Law Offices of Leon F. Bennett is here to give you the most trusted and trustworthy legal assistance to have the smoothest, most perfect divorce and mediation procedures. We have our qualified and well-experienced legal counsel that covers and protects you from the start of the process until everything is resolved and in place. So what are you waiting for? Contact us now to learn more.